The Clippers were in an elimination Game 6 on the road to the Utah Jazz on Friday night. It wasn’t just any elimination game though, the future of the entire Clippers organization depended on it in a way. The game remained close until late in the fourth when an Austin Rivers three-pointer broke it open putting the Clippers up 91-79 with just over three minutes to go.
The instances before the end of game four where Leonard started a possession on Harden were when the Spurs went with a lineup of Patty Mills, Manu Ginobili, Kawhi and two of their big men, Aldridge, Pau Gasol or David Lee. These were often short stretches in the second or third quarter and this match up was forced by on-court personnel, not an attempt to ice Harden.
The Spurs seem to find more value in having Leonard mobile or entirely swallowing up another Rockets player than stuck to Harden.
The Rockets react to this by leaving Leonard’s man out of the pick-and-roll Game Marshawn Lynch Jersey action and trying to hide them both in the corner as much as possible. And in the instances where Leonard gets switched on to Harden, it’s not an instant solution because the Beard is already moving with a head of steam and denies Leonard the ability to control the possession.
Game four was a problem. Leonard switched on to Harden with six minutes Game Teddy Bridgewater Jersey left in the third quarter and the Spurs down seven. Leonard’s best defensive effort against Harden in these minutes was when Harden attempted to pass from above the foul line.
Leonard’s so smart and so freaking long he anticipates Harden’s decisions and disrupts passes when he picks up his dribble. There’s no space for Harden’s pocket passes or even a split second for Harden to pick up his dribble without a predetermined plan of action.