What are the early returns from the Houston Rockets' small-ball experiment? What can we expect from them in the playoffs?
When the Rockets dealt starting center Clint Capela for forward Robert Covington as part of a four-team trade before the deadline, it was clear that they were committing to starting 6-foot-5 P.J. Tucker in the middle. However, we assumed Houston would add a center via either another trade or the buyout market. When ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Tim MacMahon reported that the Rockets would instead fill their last two roster spots by signing forwards DeMarre Carroll and Jeff Green, it became clear that Houston isn't going back to traditional lineups.
In the meantime, the Rockets have beaten two of the NBA's top four teams (the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics) since adding Covington, with only one loss -- at the buzzer to the Utah Jazz -- in games they've played at full strength since then.
Can this really work? Can the Rockets win without a center?