Mike D’Antoni admits what caused Houston’s least efficient outing of the season in Game 3 vs. Warriors
Mike D’Antoni has been unequivocally married to iso-ball during this Western Conference Finals series against the Golden State Warriors.
The play style got them through the first and second rounds with ease, getting past the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Utah Jazz with relative ease. However, it has proved a hit-or-miss strategy against a chameleon-like defense that welcomes the isolation, but also lures it into areas of panic.
“We got into too much — I hate to say iso, because everybody iso’s when you switch, but it’s too much,” Mike D’Antoni said before Monday’s practice at the University of San Francisco, according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. “It went too deep in the [shot] clock again. So those are things we’ll have to correct.”
D’Antoni admitted that “iso-ball” hasn’t really been his aesthetic preference, but he’s never been anti-iso, just anti-inefficiency.
“It really is not like, ‘Whoa!'” D’Antoni added, as he threw his hands up to mock shock that he’s completely changed his philosophy. “No, the numbers say this, we’re doing it, and I’m not afraid to.”
The Rockets have averaged 1.12 points on isolation plays, the best in the league by a massive gap, with no other team measuring above 1.0 per play.
“That’s Mike’s brilliance,” said Steve Nash, who played under D’Antoni during the Suns’ mid-2000s resurgence. “He’s able to adapt and adjust and bring the best out in a group of players.”
D’Antoni’s offensive efficiency will revolve solely around how his team handles possessions. Either being lured into long-drawn, ball-pounding ones, or if they manage to break down the defense and find the open man through iso play, as they did in Game 2. Finding that fine line has proved to be the tilting point of this Western Conference Finals.