We're bringing these numbers posts back. I lost my Synergy Sports account, but thankfully, HoopData still remains free of charge and freakin' awesome.
First Number: 79%
Golden State shot nearly 80% on shots around the rim. That's absurd.
This is the problem that playing Chuck Hayes at the five presents. There's no paint stopper, no shot blocker. A 6-foot-6 center isn't going to scare anyone from driving, nor block or change shots once the drive is being made. To further complicate things, the Rockets' bigs couldn't even foul these drivers hard. They couldn't get physical. Why? Because Jordan Hill wasn't ever going to play, for whatever reason. Hayes picked up four and five fouls and had to be cautious, since he, Luis Scola and Brad Miller were the only reasonably tall players who would take the court.
Scola - to perhaps show a lack of defensive intensity - picked up zero fouls. Not one. Any frontcourt player should pick up at least one foul per game while trying to make a stop in the paint. Scola didn't get one.
It doesn't appear that Brad Miller is much of a stopper, either. Through two games, I consider him to be no better than Hayes at protecting the rim. He's an offensive asset, not a defensive stopgap. This is one of the reasons why I'm convinced that the Rockets need another backup center much more than they need a first-class wing.
I'm baffled at why Hill hasn't seen the court yet. You'd figure that the Warriors would present matchup problems for Houston's first seven (which they did) and that Hill would be a nice change of pace player were he to see minutes (which he didn't). There must be something happening behind the scenes that we aren't aware of.
Second Number: 52%
Golden State shot 52% from 16-23 feet. That's also absurd.
I don't think Shane Battier has 'lost it' as much as some claim. Rather, I think he had a terrible matchup last night against Monta Ellis, who is much quicker and generally more athletic than Battier is. Shane's able to keep up with wing players like Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, but Ellis is a whole different story. Oddly enough, though, Battier forced Ellis into taking plenty of long two-point jumpers. Though he (as well as the help defenders) could have done a better job closing out on Ellis at times, if Monta is going to shoot twelve shots from just inside the arc, that's exactly what the Rockets want to see. Unfortunately, he connected on seven of those twelve attempts.
Stephen Curry and Dorrell Wright also combined to shoot 9-16 from 16-23 feet. These are shots that the Rockets wanted the Warriors to take. It just wasn't their night. The Warriors made the shots that they were given and came out on top.
This, however, is no excuse for allowing 132 points. I don't care how 'hot' an opponent gets: nobody should put up 132 points on a Rockets team whose primary focus during the preseason was improving the defense.