Mike D’Antoni has no illusions about the Golden State Warriors. He knows their offense cannot be stifled.
The catch: He doesn’t believe they can slow down the Houston Rockets’ offense either, per ESPN.com’s Tim MacMahon:
Mike D’Antoni on Warriors: “You’re not gonna stop them. It’s just not gonna happen. They’re not gonna stop us either. Should be fun.”
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) October 5, 2017
Nothing unfair here, and the Rockets-Warriors matchups should most definitely be fun.
That said, in theory, if there’s a team or two built to maybe, quite possibly, if they’re super lucky, derail the Warriors’ offenses, the Rockets are one of them. (The Oklahoma City Thunder, and their potential Death Lineup of Russell Westbrook, Andre Roberson, Paul George, Carmelo Anthony and Patrick Patterson are the other.)
Yes, there’s a lot of reaching going on here. The Rockets might not even end up being a good defensive team. But their primary big, Clint Capela, can switch into space better than most other towers, and they, unlike other teams, have the Death Lineup to put a snag in the Warriors’ own five-man terror.
Toss out Chris Paul, James Harden, Trevor Ariza, Luc Mbah a Moute and P.J. Tucker, and the Rockets have a great blend of spacing, playmaking and switchability. Harden’s defense will be a problem, but he can be “stashed” on Andre Iguodala. The bigger issue would be Tucker at the 5. He’s brimming with grit, but might not be able to stand up to Draymond Green’s downhill assaults.
No rival Death Lineup knockoff is perfect, though. The Warriors’ roster is that unique. You cannot beat them playing their own game. But, again, the Rockets are among the select few who should be able to give them a viable fight—assuming there are any teams who can give them a viable fight.