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Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni names his small-ball lineup ‘South Beach Five’

Mike D'Antoni, Rockets

The Houston Rockets earned a massive 112-108 Game 4 victory over the Golden State Warriors that effectively saved their season.

Like he did in Game 3, Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni rolled with the small-ball lineup of James Harden, Chris Paul, Austin Rivers, Eric Gordon, and P.J. Tucker to close the game.

During the postgame presser, D’Antoni casually and jokingly gave a nickname to his version of the death lineup: South Beach Five.

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr wasted no time in rolling out his Hamptons Five lineup of Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Andre Iguodala at the onset of the series. Now, D’Antoni countered Kerr’s first move by deploying the Rockets’ version of the daunted lineup.

D’Antoni said he prefers that small-ball lineup because of how they can guard better by doing a lot of switching. He added that deploying a big man could be ineffective given how he is always on the perimeter anyway.

This proved to be effective as the Rockets were able to hold Golden State’s shooters in check for both Games 3 and 4 in Houston. The defending champs shot just 8-of-33 from downtown in Game 4.

This is also the second straight game they forced a bad night from at least one of the Splash Brothers. They held Klay Thompson to just 11 points on 5-of-15 shooting in Game 4, including 1-of-6 from beyond the arc. Stephen Curry arguably had the worst game of his career in Game 3 with 17 points on an abysmal 7-of-23 shooting from the field.

This lineup has made it difficult for the Warriors to get the Splash Brothers clean looks from deep, as the constant switching gives them little time to rise up for their 3-pointers. Over the past two games, Curry and Thompson have shot just a combined 9-of-35 from deep.