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Mike D’Antoni not yet satisfied with Rockets’ defense as playoffs near

Mike D'Antoni, Rockets

With the NBA Playoffs just around the corner, Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni wants his team to tighten up its defensive effort.

The Rockets — specifically D’Antoni’s playbook — is most known for its potent offense and not so much for its defense. But so far, the team is making strides on D, and D’Antoni is pleased with what he’s seeing. But with the postseason about to kick-off, the 69-year-old wants to spot improvements in each game.

“Hopefully, even in the playoffs, each series will get better as the games go on and you get more familiar with other teams, the way they want to play,” D’Antoni said, per Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. “I’m happy, never satisfied, but really happy.”

According to D’Antoni, the team has been talking well especially on switches, noting that communication is something that they’ve been emphasizing in practice. There have been errors in some facets but D’Antoni intends to iron everything out entering the playoffs.

“It (the communication on switches) is much better,” D’Antoni said of the Rockets. “We’ve really been stressing that since we’ve been back practicing and then playing. Players are doing real well. We have a couple lapses here and there. It’s been real good. It needs to be great going into the playoffs.”

The Rockets actually rank 16th in the NBA in terms of defensive rating (109.7). They beefed up their defense thru the addition of Robert Covington, an NBA All-Defensive First Team member. James Harden, too, has made strides. He averages 1.8 steals per game for fifth in the league.

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