The Los Angeles Clippers beat the Houston Rockets, 120-105, on Thursday night, handing the Rockets their second loss in a row. The latest results of their ultimate small ball experiment have come as great relief to those who detest Daryl Morey, Mike D'Antoni, James Harden, Russell Westbrook and the team's general lack of traditional basketball height.
After Charles Barkley went on the radio and called the team a "little bunch of leprechauns" the Rockets had one of the worst shooting nights in franchise history, making just 7 of 42 from behind the line. They went 2 of 22 in the first half and were 3 of 35 at one point. James Harden was 0-for-8. They aren't beating anyone like that.
The truth is, this bad game didn't prove anything except that it's very hard to win when you shoot 36% from the field. If the Rockets had made 14 threes instead of 7, it's a completely different game. If the Rockets are making their shots at their usual clip (35%) they can still beat anyone - including the Clippers.
But if this version of the Rockets shows up, they might as well have stayed home. The worst part is that people will say it is proof that what they are doing doesn't work. Even though 29 teams fail to win the championship every year and plenty of them heavily feature more traditional lineups. Since the Rockets have bucked tradition to such an extreme, they will be judged harshly if they fail and critics will do it with glee.