Nov 5, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Washington Wizards center Marcin Gortat (13) talks with Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) at the end of the second quarter against the Orlando Magic at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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Following the Houston Rockets worst effort of the season Mike D’Antoni has elected to move Eric Gordon to the bench. Next up the Rockets face the lackluster 1-5 Wizards.
To say the Houston Rockets played horrible defense in Atlanta this past weekend would be under scoring how brutal they were. The Rockets coughed up the ball 25 times and repeatedly allowed the Hawks to move anywhere they wanted on the court.
Observing the game was frustrating because much of their demise was effort based. Red Nation knew Ryan Anderson wasn’t a defensive specialist, but they didn’t pay him $80 million dollars to be a spectator either. Granted, other than K.J. McDaniels there wasn’t too many players one could point to who brought much defensive intensity. Capela attempted to stand his ground, but former Rockets center Dwight Howard threw him around like a rag doll.
Head Coach Mike D’Antoni has chosen to switch up the starting line-up versus the Wizards. To wit, he’ll move Eric Gordon to the bench where he was always expected to play. The odd choice to replace him however is Corey Brewer.
D’Antoni will make the switch to have Brewer match up with Wizards All Star point guard John Wall, but also to have Gordon fresher to bolster the Rockets’ struggling second unit.
“He’ll be guarding John Wall, or that’s the thought behind it,” D’Antoni said. “I want Eric fresh on the second team. We have to bolster that segment at the start of the second quarter and start of the fourth. We’re just looking, trying to solve some things.”
In my opinion inserting K.J. McDaniels would have been a much wiser choice given his ability to defend. Pairing him with Trevor Ariza would definitely have provided a strong pairing on the wings.
Brewer has been invisible through the early season on both ends and having to match up against one of the Association’s best back courts in John Wall and Bradley Beal offers a frightening vision. In the Chronicle article Brewer spoke to his familiarity of guarding point guards like Wall. The hope is the speedy Brewer will be able to stay in front of Wall. Also noted in the article was D’Antoni updating Patrick Beverley should be back within the next 2 weeks. D’Antoni hopes the team can utilize their existing reserves to weather the storm until PBev’s return.
Dec 9, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) dribbles the ball as Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) defends in the third quarter at Verizon Center. The Rockets won 109-103. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 5, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Washington Wizards guard Tomas Satoransky (31) drives to the basket as Orlando Magic guard Elfrid Payton (4) defends during the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 21, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards forward Otto Porter Jr. (22) shoots the ball against the Toronto Raptors during the second half at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Patrick Beverley – rotoworld reports Beverley is ahead of schedule following the knee scope and anticipates a mid November return.
Trevor Ariza – face, in the game versus the Cavaliers Ariza got hit in the face late in the game. CBS lists him as a game time decision, but Ariza rarely misses time (even with worse injuries) so I’d bank on him playing.
John Wall was rested in the Wizards last game but he’ll be back in the line-up tonight.
Ian Mahinmi – had surgery mid October to repair a partially torn medial meniscus in left knee, will miss 4 to 6 weeks. Targeting late November return.
Nov 5, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Washington Wizards head coach Scott Brooks reacts against the Orlando Magic during the second half at Amway Center. Orlando Magic defeated the Washington Wizards 88-86. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Keys For Rockets:
Defense: Suffice to say an effort like the Rockets put out in Atlanta won’t get the job done. Capela should have an easier job versus Gortat. Anderson won’t be taxed with a player of Paul Millsap’s ilk, but he needs to at least give the appearance he’s something other than a spectator.
Don’t play the record: Sure the Wizards have won a single game, but that came against the team who just shellacked the Rockets. That said the Wizards aren’t tearing up the League with the 27th ranked offense, 22nd ranked defense and 29th net ranking. Houston has the 5th ranked offense and woeful 28th ranked defense. Bottom line if the Rockets play even a modicum of defense the game is theirs for the taking.
Push the pace: Washington rank 5th worst in the league at stopping the fast break and allowing 15.8 points. With the Rockets penchant for shooting threes in transition this could lead to a big advantage.
Make the proper half time and in game adjustments: If I pick three major factors as takeaways from Atlanta it was the absence of defense, turning over the ball and no adjustments being made. Clearly Coach Bud made the proper half time adjustments especially considering Anderson’s 3 pointers all came in the first half and Harden was held in check. D’Antoni made no adjustments allowing his team to continue tossing up perimeter shots even when they were clear paths to the bucket.
Bottom line, in spite of how poorly the Rockets played in Atlanta, this Wizards team has not found their groove on either end of the floor. Wall can’t be overlooked, but Washington’s bench has been abysmal. The Rockets need to exert effort on defense and if they do this will be an easy victory.