Mike D’Antoni jokingly clapped back at Draymond Green‘s criticism of the Houston Rockets’ porous defense Tuesday night, quipping that the Golden State Warriors don’t care about defending either following a thrilling 122-121 season-opening victory at Oracle Arena.
MDA on Draymond Green's comment: Somebody said we don't take it seriously on defense. Well obviously, they don't take it seriously either"
— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) October 18, 2017
After allowing 71 first-half points, the Rockets held the defending NBA champs to 20 in the fourth quarter while completing their comeback.
D’Antoni had said that neither team could stop the other during preseason play.
Per the Houston Chronicle:
“Somebody said we don’t take it seriously on defense,” D’Antoni said. “Well, obviously (the Warriors) don’t take it seriously either. We scored pretty good. I think both teams take it seriously. We did play well, and it’s a big push for us. We want to be a good defensive team, but when you play against guys like that, you better be able to score the ball. We were able to do both.”
The Rockets offense remains vital against the Warriors. In the past two seasons, when the Warriors score 120 or more points, they are 30-0 against the rest of the NBA; 1-2 against the Rockets. But as much the Rockets rely on their high-scoring offense, they knew they had to improve on the other end, and cited the season-opener as a sign of progress.
“We talk about it all the time,” Rockets guard James Harden said. “That’s our identity. Obviously, we can score with the best of them. Defensively, if we want to get where we want to go, we have to get stops. We played against this past year’s No. 1 offense, it was a good test for us.
“We got a chance, man. We got a chance. We have to do it consistently, not just get up for the Warriors, but make sure we take care of business every single night. Defensively, if we lock in and pride ourselves on getting stops, offensively, we have more than enough weapons. That’s what we have to do.”