clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

How the Rockets hope to stop LeBron James tonight

Stopping LeBron James likely means a win, but it's not that easy.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Friday night the Rockets have a chance at six wins in a row and taking back the respect they have lost after their poor start to the season. Standing in the way are the Cavaliers and LeBron James.

So far they have split the Texas triangle, with a win against the Mavericks and a loss against the Spurs. And if the Rockets are to pick up the win against a very game opponent, limiting LeBron will go a long way to beating the Cavs.

"Five guys have to be locked in on him," James Harden said. "He scores the basketball, but he's really effective by making passes, making plays for his teammates getting them open shots. We just got to limit one of those things and make it as tough as possible."

Because the Cavs have so many options, the Rockets must pick their poison: let LeBron James score, or let others beat them. If the Rockets want to neutralize the World's Best Player as best they can, the primary burden falls on Trevor Ariza.

As the Rockets' best defender he will do his best to limit James. But that is hard for any one person to do. Like James Harden, LeBron James does a lot of damage on drives, going towards the rim.

"You want to make him a shooter, even though he can get really hot," Dwight Howard said, "when he's in the paint, he's making plays for others."

Keeping LeBron out of the paint will be a tough job for the Rockets wing defenders. But if they can make LeBron James a jump-shooter, the Rockets will live with the results that follow.

The Spurs held LeBron to 3-9 shooting outside the paint and the Cavs left losers. If the Rockets do the same, the Cavs will be heading back to Ohio on a losing streak.

Josh Reese