Mike D’Antoni not worried about Houston’s turnover rate despite Chris Paul’s concern
Chris Paul is a curmudgeon. Even though the Houston Rockets have blown out the Utah Jazz in both games of the teams’ first-round series, Paul couldn’t help but harp on his team’s perceived carelessness with the ball after Game 2, during which the Rockets committed 19 turnovers.
Mike D’Antoni, though, is unconcerned by Houston’s turnover total in the playoffs thus far despite his Hall-of-Fame point guard’s critique.
“No cause other than being up 20, then you try some stuff,” D’Antoni said when asked to respond to Paul’s comments, per Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. “We’ll be fine. I’m not worried about that. I’m glad they understand the importance of not turning it over. I appreciate that. But they know that. That won’t happen next time.”
Paul, it bears mentioning, intentionally shouldered some of the blame for the Rockets’ number of miscues, even singling out a possession on which he had the ball stolen by Jazz counterpart Ricky Rubio. He had six turnovers in Houston’s 118-98 win over Utah on Wednesday, and James Harden coughed the ball up eight times. Both players did a better job of taking care of the ball in Game 1, combining for seven of their team’s 10 turnovers.
The Rockets’ isolation-heavy offensive attack lends itself to low turnover numbers. They finished ninth in turnover rate during the regular season, committing turnovers on just 13.4 percent of their possessions. Protecting the ball is important, obviously, but Mike D’Antoni is right not to fret about committing a few more miscues than normal against Utah.
In a second-round matchup with the Golden State Warriors, though? Houston better prioritize limiting turnovers, a factor so important to the two-time defending champions potentially being dethroned that D’Antoni would be best served driving its significance right now – as Paul is likely very well doing.