Daryl Morey Says Rockets Can Beat Warriors in Playoffs with 3-Point Shooting

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistFebruary 28, 2017

HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 20:  James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets drives around Zaza Pachulia #27 of the Golden State Warriors in the first quarter at Toyota Center on January 20, 2017 in Houston, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

One of the prominent storylines throughout the NBA season has been the perceived inevitability of the Golden State Warriors' reaching the NBA Finals after their offseason acquisition of Kevin Durant.

Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, however, doesn't subscribe to that viewpoint.

"We want to win the title, and obviously that's probably going through the Warriors at some point," Morey told Frank Isola and Brian Scalabrine during an interview on SiriusXM NBA Radio (h/t James Herbert of CBS Sports). "And we absolutely figured the only way we're gonna beat 'em is with a barrage of 3-pointers, and it's probably gonna be a 124-120 affair if we're gonna get past them."

The Rockets beat Golden State 132-127 in double overtime Dec. 1. The Warriors got some revenge Jan. 20, winning 125-108.

Certainly, any matchup between the teams is destined to be a shootout, as the Warriors and Rockets have the two highest-scoring offenses in the NBA. Golden States leads the league in points per game (118.2), while Houston is second (115.2). No team attempts more threes than the Rockets, however, with Houston chucking up 40.3 shots from beyond the arc per game.

The Rockets aren't the most efficient team when it comes to landing those shots, of course, making 36.5 percent of them, which ranks 12th overall. But the 14.7 threes they do make every game is the best mark in the NBA.

There aren't many strategies for beating the Warriors. The Cleveland Cavaliers had the best player on the planet in LeBron James, two superstar running mates in Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love and a veteran supporting cast that locked down on defense and slowed the pace of the game, and it still took them seven games to win the NBA Finals last season.

And Cleveland is arguably the only team that can successfully employ that formula. Houston certainly can't.

The Rockets can win defense-be-damned shootouts, though. They spread out teams with a variety of shooters, led by MVP candidate James Harden and marskmen like Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson and the newly acquired Lou Williams.

Even the team's role players like Patrick Beverley, Trevor Ariza and Sam Dekker are threats from beyond the arc. And that's all by design, as Morey outlined.

"We wanted to make sure our spacing was clean throughout the whole game, that we always had shooters in the game," he said. "And Lou gives us that. So now in our rotation, every player on the floor except for obviously the 5 is able to shoot the three-point shot well and attack the basket well."

Live by the three, die by the three. That old saying has never felt more relevant than it does in relation to this Rockets team. Whether such an all-or-nothing approach will be enough to top Durant, Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson in a seven-game series will determine its viability.

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