The Golden State Warriors re-popularized the use of small-ball lineups last season when they won the NBA Finals by utilizing it, and have further showed the dominant abilities of it this season with a lineup featuring Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green.
That starting five is known these days as the “death lineup” due to how dominant it has been against every team it has faced, and it’s something certain teams have tried to replicate because as Jeff Van Gundy likes to say, the NBA is a copy league.
The only problem is that the teams trying to replicate the success of the Warriors’ small-ball lineup don’t have the proper personnel to do so, such as having a center who can guard all positions while being able to spread the floor and create offense. Small ball works for Golden State because along with their offense, they have enough size and dedicated defenders at every position to make it work defensively.
Enter the Houston Rockets’ version of small-ball on Tuesday against the Sacramento Kings, according to Gerald Henderson of the Portland Trail Blazers:
lol Rockets 5 in right now…Terry, Beverley, Harden, Brewer, Ariza…the game has gone to some amazing places! #smallball
— Gerald Henderson (@GhJr09) December 16, 2015
Predictably, the Rockets failed to make any kind of a serious comeback with that particular lineup, falling 107-97 to the Kings on the road. Dwight Howard is already unhappy in Houston, and that lineup probably isn’t helping the situation any.
Jim Park is a blogger and Tweet of the Night author of Sheridan Hoops. Follow him on twitter @SheridanBlog.