By Johnny Askounis/ email@example.com
The Houston Rockets gained a 1-0 lead over the Los Angeles Lakers with their impressive win on Friday. James Harden scored 36 points and kept on contributing to the strong defensive effort displayed by Mike D’Antoni’s players in the 2020 NBA playoffs.
“Obviously we want to make shots. But when shots are not falling for us we have something to fall back on, our defense,” Harden pointed out in the post-game press conference in the Orlando bubble, “We have been showing that. Against OKC, our defense won us basketball games.”
D’Antoni has been relying on small-ball, speed, and three-pointers, but his team’s defense is steadily gaining attention as the postseason moves on. Harden himself has been effective beyond his top-notch offense, the 69-year-old head coach confirms.
“His defense has been very good all year, even in the bubble, it’s been even better. He sets the tone,” said D’Antoni, “We expect the Lakers to play better as the series goes on. Every game is a new story.”
“I don’t know why people keep saying that we are small,” added Harden, “If you don’t have heart it doesn’t matter. We got guys that are able to switch, play different positions, and guard each different guys on the court. It doesn’t matter how tall you are, if you have the heart and are a competitor, you do it out on the court.”
Game 2 will take place Sunday in the NBA bubble set up in Orlando.
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