NBA playoffs 2019: Mike D’Antoni confident Rockets can give Warriors ‘a run’ | NBA

Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni thinks his staff can compete with the two-time defending champion Warriors.

Houston battled Golden State within the Western Convention finals in 2017-18 and held a 3-2 collection lead earlier than finally falling in Sport 7. The 2 groups have an opportunity to satisfy once more within the playoffs this season.

The Rockets began slowly however have turned it round and enter play Wednesday in third place of the West. In the meantime, Golden State is as soon as once more main the convention.

“Properly, I assumed we had an excellent crack final 12 months, so I don’t know — we’ll see,” D’Antoni lately told The Athletic. “I’m assured, as I used to be after we had been 11-14, that we’ll give them a run.

“Now they could beat us. They’re the most effective staff. They’re the champs proper now. They’ve confirmed it, and so they’ve acquired nothing to show.”

D’Antoni stated he hasn’t seen a lot of the Warriors since they re-signed heart Andrew Bogut final month.

“They’re totally different, a lot totally different,” D’Antoni stated. “They’re even totally different with (Bogut). And you understand they’re going to show it on, however we simply — we like what we’ve acquired.”

Houston opened the season with an 11-14 file. D’Antoni, nevertheless, stated the staff by no means misplaced confidence in itself.

“We by no means misplaced religion,” D’Antoni stated. “The gamers by no means misplaced religion. And I saved telling them, clearly it’s nice that you just don’t lose religion however should you suppose you’re OK y’all are loopy. We’re not OK, however we will likely be OK, and you must have that confidence.

“They simply saved believing, saved going, and so they had been actually good. …They knew they had been going to show it round.”

The Rockets will enter their matchup with the Clippers on Wednesday with a 50-28 file. They’ve 4 regular-season video games remaining.

Mike D’Antoni praises ‘remarkable’ James Harden after 50-point triple-double | NBA

Mike D’Antoni saluted the “outstanding” James Harden after he impressed the Houston Rockets to a 119-108 victory over the Sacramento Kings with a 50-point triple-double.

The reigning NBA MVP poured in 50 factors, took 11 rebounds and laid on 10 assists in one other robust show on the Toyota Middle on Saturday. Harden now has 5 50-point triple-doubles in his profession.

Coach D’Antoni praised Harden’s astonishing consistency for the playoff-bound Rockets.

“It is outstanding what he does, and he does it each evening,” D’Antoni mentioned. “I hold considering, ‘Gosh, can he do that each recreation?’ After which he does it for 3 years.”

The Kings led by 10 factors within the second quarter and held a slender benefit going into the final, however the Rockets earned a fourth win in 5 matches.

“They made a run, which we knew they had been going to have in them,” Harden mentioned. “However I simply tried to be aggressive, whether or not it was making an help or attending to the basket or taking pictures my shot. That was it.”

Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni marvels at James Harden’s 61: ‘One of the best performances’ | NBA

James Harden’s 61-point eruption Friday in opposition to the Spurs left Mike D’Antoni to marvel at what the Rockets coach dubbed “among the finest performances.”

Harden rallied the Rockets from a six-point deficit with 4 minutes remaining, scoring 13 consecutive factors – together with three successive 3-pointers – to rescue a 111-105 win for Houston.

The reigning NBA MVP hit 27 factors within the first quarter and went on to affix Wilt Chamberlain, Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan on the listing of gamers to register a number of 60-point video games in the identical season.

Harden, who additionally had 61 factors in opposition to the Knicks in January, tied Jordan and Bryant for probably the most factors in a two-game span over the previous 50 seasons, his efforts on Friday taking him to 118 following the 57 he scored up in opposition to the Grizzlies two days earlier.

“I do not know the way you get any higher,” D’Antoni stated. “Whoever was within the gymnasium tonight in all probability [saw] one thing they’ve by no means seen earlier than.

“There is not any manner. That was among the finest performances – the magnitude of the sport, we wanted it – simply all the pieces. I do not know what number of factors he bought within the final 4 minutes, however we had been down. The man was taking part in.”

Giannis Antetokounmpo is seen as the favourite for this yr’s MVP, however Harden’s teammate Chris Paul is in little doubt this efficiency solidified his standing within the race for that honor.

“I imply, what else have you ever bought to do?” Paul stated. “This was powerful, this was loopy.

“I hold occupied with a dialog I had with Paul Pierce after his final recreation after I was with the Clippers, and speaking about having a possibility to understand greatness. Sheesh, that is powerful. Not solely that efficiency, however we received. We would have liked it.”

Rockets guard Gerald Inexperienced was equally awestruck.

“Among the pictures he hit as we speak, it is exceptional,” Inexperienced stated. “I’ve seen a whole lot of basketball in my life, performed in opposition to lots of people, and his expertise stage is simply one thing that I’ve simply by no means seen earlier than.

“The one individual that might in all probability guard him is the coaches and the referee. That is it. There’s no person that may cease him. He is simply a type of sorts of gamers that he is in a position to get a shot off at any time.

“He does not have any weaknesses. The one individual that may cease him is [D’Antoni] if he takes him out, and the referees in the event that they foul him out. That is it.”

The Rockets are third within the Western Convention at 46-27, with the Spurs occupying the eighth seed at 42-31.

“We gave up one million factors within the first quarter, and so they had 19 free throws within the first half and none within the third quarter,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich stated. “You play along with your coronary heart and also you play between the ears additionally.

“We performed smarter and we performed more durable within the second half, however you’ll be able to’t do this in opposition to a very good staff like Houston or any staff within the NBA. We performed the final two quarters, after which on the finish, James placed on an MVP-type efficiency. In order that’s that.”

Mike D’Antoni on James Harden’s recent shooting struggles: ‘That’s the least of my worries’ | NBA

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — James Harden didn’t have his finest sport Wednesday. However, he did simply sufficient to guide the Rockets to a win.

The 29-year-old star missed 19 of his 29 photographs and linked on solely one in all his 11 3-point makes an attempt. Harden, nonetheless, completed with 30 factors, together with 19 within the second half, in Houston’s 118-113 victory over the Hornets in Charlotte.

Harden additionally added seven assists, two steals and was an ideal 9 of 9 from the free throw line.

“Fortunately, I’m capable of do extra issues than simply rating the basketball,” Harden instructed reporters after the sport. “On the nights the place the ball’s not getting into, I’m capable of get to the foul line, I’m capable of create steals, I’m capable of help the basketball. I’m capable of do the intangible issues, take costs to assist the staff win.”

Harden has been coping with a neck damage and sat out the staff’s matchup with the Warriors on Saturday. He returned two days later and shot simply 33.Three % from the ground in Houston’s win over the Hawks.

Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni doesn’t appear involved about Harden’s latest struggles from the sector.

“He’ll be tremendous,” D’Antoni stated. “That’s the least of my worries is how he’s going to play. He’s going to be good.”

The Rockets trailed the Hornets by 4 on the finish of the third quarter however opened the ultimate interval on an 18-Four run to take management.

“We did a extremely good job defensively and simply being extra aggressive,” Harden stated about Houston’s fourth quarter.  

Houston improved to 36-25 with the victory and has now received three of its final 4 video games. It completed play Wednesday in fifth place of the Western Convention with a 36-25 document.

“We all know how essential these final 20-something video games are,” Harden stated. “These are for seeding, that is for alternatives to place your self in place to be prepared for the postseason. So, we performed prefer it.”

Harden, the 2018 NBA MVP, is averaging 36.2 factors and seven.6 assists this season. He’s taking pictures 43.eight % from the sector and 36.Three % from 3-point vary.

The Rockets will host the Warmth on Thursday.

Mike D’Antoni on James Harden’s recent shooting struggles: ‘That’s the least of my worries’ | NBA

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — James Harden didn’t have his finest recreation Wednesday. However, he did simply sufficient to steer the Rockets to a win.

The 29-year-old star missed 19 of his 29 photographs and linked on solely one in all his 11 3-point makes an attempt. Harden, nevertheless, completed with 30 factors, together with 19 within the second half, in Houston’s 118-113 victory over the Hornets in Charlotte.

Harden additionally added seven assists, two steals and was an ideal 9 of 9 from the free throw line.

“Fortunately, I’m capable of do extra issues than simply rating the basketball,” Harden informed reporters after the sport. “On the nights the place the ball’s not getting in, I’m capable of get to the foul line, I’m capable of create steals, I’m capable of help the basketball. I’m capable of do the intangible issues, take costs to assist the group win.”

Harden has been coping with a neck harm and sat out the group’s matchup with the Warriors on Saturday. He returned two days later and shot simply 33.Three p.c from the ground in Houston’s win over the Hawks.

Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni doesn’t appear involved about Harden’s current struggles from the sphere.

“He’ll be superb,” D’Antoni mentioned. “That’s the least of my worries is how he’s going to play. He’s going to be good.”

The Rockets trailed the Hornets by 4 on the finish of the third quarter however opened the ultimate interval on an 18-Four run to take management.

“We did a very good job defensively and simply being extra aggressive,” Harden mentioned about Houston’s fourth quarter.  

Houston improved to 36-25 with the victory and has now received three of its final 4 video games. It completed play Wednesday in fifth place of the Western Convention with a 36-25 document.

“We all know how vital these final 20-something video games are,” Harden mentioned. “These are for seeding, that is for alternatives to place your self in place to be prepared for the postseason. So, we performed prefer it.”

Harden, the 2018 NBA MVP, is averaging 36.2 factors and seven.6 assists this season. He’s taking pictures 43.eight p.c from the sphere and 36.Three p.c from 3-point vary.

The Rockets will host the Warmth on Thursday.

Rockets can’t rely on ‘superhuman’ James Harden, Mike D’Antoni warns | NBA

The Rockets cannot rely on James Harden being “superhuman each night time,” coach Mike D’Antoni stated after the reigning MVP tied an NBA report for essentially the most missed 3-pointers in a sport.

Though Harden tied Kobe Bryant for essentially the most successive 30-point sport (16) by scoring 38 in a 116-109 loss Sunday to the Magic, he was simply 1-for-17 from past the arc to match Damon Stoudamire’s undesirable mark for long-range futility.

D’Antoni was dissatisfied by Houston’s defensive show in Orlando and referred to as on different gamers to step up when the six-time All-Star is having a troublesome time.

“The issue is you may’t depend on [Harden] to be superhuman each night time. Now we have to have some contribution from different guys,” D’Antoni stated.

“I assumed (the Rockets) got here in with an absence of focus, particularly on the defensive finish and it carried over on the offensive finish. We did not play properly.

“I simply thought the entire sport we did not have the correct focus for a staff that performs properly. Steve Clifford has [the Magic] enjoying very well.

“We bought 10 factors, 10 factors, 10 factors up and allow them to grasp round, and we did not have the correct amount of focus and also you get beat. Hopefully we’ll study from it.”

Harden did not need to dwell on his capturing struggles, insisting that protection was the larger difficulty for the Rockets.

He stated: “[The 3s] simply did not go in. It is not even about offense although, defensively we weren’t locked in sufficient and we gave up 70 factors or one thing [actually 64] within the second half. We scored sufficient factors to win.

“We did not have our [defensive] focus degree like the previous few weeks.

“We do not have the margin of error. We have to come back in locked in from the start of the sport for all 4 quarters. You give a staff like this some confidence and open pictures, and so they made them. It is fairly easy.”