The Three

Shooting 3s is nice. When you swish one, it’s a good feeling. When you base an entire team’s offense on it like the Rockets do, it’s complicated.

Sure, during regular season it works well. Scoring is an easiest way to win: don’t move much, shoot a three. Compared to defending –raising arms, running awkwardly- or shooting contested 2s, 3-point shooting is the most efficient way to lead. And James Harden is the most insane contested 3 shooter we’ve ever seen.

Now, during the playoffs it’s way different. Teams expect those shooters beyond the arc and will make sure they don’t get the ball that often. The shooter has all the pressure and that’s where shooting 3s becomes a curse: you miss one. You miss two. Four. It’s the playoffs. Not scoring leads to stressed AF really fast. Then you doubt. Should you try again? Should you pass, drive? If you hesitate, you lose.

It becomes a curse. You try to focus on making those 3s and suddenly your defense sucks hard. The Rockets have showed that over and over. If they score, they’re defending pretty well. If they don’t, it’s like an open boulevard in the paint. My Spurs are doing the opposite: they focus on defense, which makes them shoot badly from 3 quite often.

But once they get it going, they win. They kept the NBA champions to 90 and their 3s went in on Sunday. 13 point lead. It’s easier to go for scoring 3s than to go for strong defense. But defense is crucial.

Pop is right. Defense first. Then your mundane bullshit like crazy threes and all that.

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