Video: Jazz guard Ricky Rubio’s bizarre defense on James Harden goes viral
The Utah Jazz strategy against the Houston Rockets’ James Harden seems to be a conscious and deliberate effort in preventing his patented stepback jumpers and forcing him to go inside. Unfortunately for Ricky Rubio, his intentions may be a little too obvious.
In a clip making the rounds on the internet, the Spaniard picked up the reigning Most Valuable Player as he crossed the halfcourt line, sticks to his hip and eventually his back, and rapidly shuffles his feet in a comically blatant attempt to funnel Harden towards the middle against two Jazz defenders (anchored by Rudy Gobert).
Rubio was tip-toeing around Harden 😂 pic.twitter.com/qFxNjitzCw
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 15, 2019
The odd defensive scheme sometimes worked with Harden shooting floaters that graze the rim (which was the intention all along) but for the most part, it failed. The 6-foot-5 guard shredded the defense repeatedly, helping the Rockets connect on 15 three-pointers and was a big part of their 25 team assists. He also correctly read what the Jazz was planning to do and just dished to the open shooters to put up the same amount of points they were trying to prevent in the first place.
Moving on to Game 2, it’s unclear if Jazz coach Quin Snyder will continue to stay with this strategy and just gamble on the Rockets missing their outside shots. If so, we can probably expect more of the same clips as they continue to roll on the red carpet for Harden in hilarious fashion.