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Mike D’Antoni claims ‘dogfight’ mindset should come in play coming into Game 2 vs. Warriors

Mike D'Antoni, James Harden

Coming off a brutal 119-106 loss in Game 1 of the series against the Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni refused to change his iso-heavy approach in this series, rather noting his team should have a massive sense of urgency coming into Game 2 on Wednesday.

“This comes down to a dogfight,” said D’Antoni, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. “Your hair should be on fire. You should be playing and spitting blood out there. This is hard stuff to overcome one of the better teams in the history of the NBA.”

The Rockets had used isolation plays a whopping 45 times, which is the most in the past five postseasons, according to Second Spectrum. Yet the master isolator won’t cease with his strategy, noting that it worked, just not enough to get the win.

“’Oh my gosh, they iso, that’s they all they do.’,” said a mocking D’Antoni. “No it isn’t. It is what we do best.”

“We scored like 60 percent of the time on it. Really? ‘Oh, they don’t pass. Everybody stands.’ Really? Did you watch us for 82 games? We are who we are and we’re pretty good at it.”

The former Phoenix Suns coach, who once installed a beautiful passing offense under Steve Nash, has grown enamored with the offensive talent of James Harden (who had 26 of the 45 isolation plays), and fellow backcourt cog Chris Paul, who accounted for 41 of the team’s 85 shot attempts.

“We can’t get off who we are,” said a resolute D’Antoni. “Just be better at who we are. And don’t worry about somebody else solving the puzzle a different way. Fine. That’s how they solve it. We solve our puzzle this way. We just have to do it better.”