Milwaukee used a counterintuitive approach to try and slow down the most unstoppable player in basketball. Did it work, and could other teams try it?
Milwaukee’s approach was a multi-pronged scheme that used all five players on the court to dictate the way Harden attacked and limit his other four teammates.
When the Raptors tried it on them last year, Houston adjusted by taking Capela out of the game and playing four shooters around Harden.
It’s certainly a better approach than the one the Denver Nuggets took the game before, where they trapped Harden 30 feet from the hoop in a misguided attempt to make the other Rockets beat them.
All that did is set up 4 on 3 scenarios for Houston to exploit, and Harden still got his numbers anyway (32 points on 18 shots with 14 assists).
Rather than allow Houston to use Harden’s presence to lift everyone else up, the Bucks isolated Harden from the rest of his team.