THE Houston Rockets hit 22 triples in a 126-99 rout of the Spurs in the opener of their Western Conference semifinals on Monday in San Antonio (Tuesday, Manila time). These two Texas teams met four times in the regular season, and the winner's average margin of victory was three points.
These Rockets are a joy to watch with Harden, one of the best scorers of his generation who emerged as the league's premier facilitator in his maiden voyage as a point guard, in complete control. The Spurs share the ball more than any team and are known for continuing to pass the ball until they find the open man. They attacked the hoop and played solid fourth quarter defense. Leonard is the best two-way player in the National Basketball Association and Popovich continues to prove his case as one of the best coaches in league history.
In Round 1, the 25-year-old Leonard hung 31.2 points, six boards and 3.8 dishes on the Grizz.
Can San Antonio match Houston's firepower if it comes to that?
On the season, the Spurs are averaging 105.3 points, 43.9 rebounds and 23.8 assists per game.
"They came out ready, they outplayed us tonight", said San Antonio forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who was held to four points.
Question 5: Can the Rockets clean up their end of game sloppiness?
I can't imagine skewing in one direction politically helps, and I believe the whole stick to sports thing is actually good advice most of the time. The calls after the game from both teams was "It's one game", as Gregg Popovich summed up the game as only he does, with "We lost, and they won, and they played better".
We look at this second round matchup of the 2nd seed San Antonio Spurs and 3rd seed Houston Rockets. If San Antonio can get through this great matchup, there will be no need to prepare for Golden State's scoring juggernaut because the Rockets are doing their best imitation of the 2015 champions.
Back to that person who came up with "defense wins championships". The Spurs are the only team in the 2017 NBA playoffs with two NBA Finals MVPs on their roster, G Tony Parker and F Kawhi Leonard. P.J. Tucker finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds, Serge Ibaka added 15 points, and Lowry had a game-high 11 assists. With MVP candidate James Harden leading the Rockets' offense, Houston averaged 112.8 points in its five-game series against Oklahoma City. Even after showing some signs of decline in the regular season, Aldridge should still have something left in the tank. Here are five reasons the Houston Rockets will be able to defeat the San Antonio Spurs.
The Houston Rockets have solidarity and depth in their bench with players like Lou Williams, Nene Hilario and Eric Gordon. It's also doubtful that the Rockets will play much better than they did for the rest of this series.
As hard as it may be, the Spurs will need to avoid father time once more if they hope to defeat the Rockets. Aldridge leads in rebounds with 7.3 while Danny Green tops in assists with 1.0 per game.
Even with Leonard defending him, Harden should continue to put up some fantastic statistical lines, but he'll need to be a little more efficient from the field at times as well. "We try to not foul, just try to show our hands and play great defense".
WELCOME BACK: Houston forward Sam Dekker will be available to play Monday after missing four weeks following surgery to fix a fractured left hand. Houston made a few more runs in the years that followed, but has dipped in and out of the playoffs ever since. The Rockets average 115.2 points per game on offense while giving up 109.3 on defense. I do not see any reason why the playoff series will not be just as competitive as the regular season series. Three reached 20 before the Rockets took their foot off the gas early.
The Spurs have moved away from the "Beautiful Game" style they became known for years ago when they won their last title.