Published: Sun, May 07, 2017
Sport | By Noel Norman

Leonard, Aldridge lead Spurs' charge

Leonard, Aldridge lead Spurs' charge

Kawhi Leonard added 26 points of his own for the Spurs along with 10 boards and seven assists en route to their 103-92 win over the Rockets Friday night.

HOUSTON (AP) - LaMarcus Aldridge had been criticized through two games of the Western Conference semifinals for not doing enough for the San Antonio Spurs. Houston native Jonathon Simmons chipped in once again, beating the buzzer with a three-pointer at the end of the third quarter to quell a 9-1 Rockets run.

Um, who needs a point guard?

Perhaps more importantly, though, they not only allowed San Antonio to believe they can win without point guard Tony Parker, but they failed to come up with any sort of tactical response to the Spurs' Game 2 and Game 3 strategy of allowing James Harden to bomb away and keeping their defenders attached to the Rockets' perimeter players.

That's awhile. Yes, 221 playoff games, in fact. Houston fell to 1-5 in the six games that Harden recorded six or fewer assists this season. They need to get back to that pace, in addition to the bench playing much better, if they want to get back into this series.

Did Murray seem shellshocked in the opening minutes when Patrick Beverly swarmed him as if he had eight arms? "But he handled it very well".

Dejounte Murray played 14 minutes in Game 3 and had a positive net rating.

With Parker out, backup Patty Mills could move into a starting role and the Spurs likely will give Leonard more ball-handling responsibility.

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The Interstate 10 rivals will meet again for Game 4 at the Toyota Center late Sunday night at 8pm (Monday 8 am in Manila).

And Popovich has better players than D'Antoni. I am definitely tempted to take the Spurs to win in a minor upset, but this is basically a must-win game for the Rockets so I'm banking on them to level up the series with a win and cover in this one. Gasol had 12 points and nine rebounds. Possibly because the personalities of the most notable San Antonio Spurs (or lack thereof) are so stark in comparison to other National Basketball Association stars that try building their brand that it opens up a world of comedy, and not necessarily mocking the Spurs.

James Harden did all he could to help the Rockets, scoring 43 points with five assists, but the team in general shot just 34 percent from the floor, and 31 percent from beyond the arc.

"It's a challenge", Pop said Saturday.

And they are not almost as effective when they can't get out in transition and take advantages of mismatches and cross matches that favor them.

First quarters can be, however. If you're missing shots and not getting rebounds, it's tough to run. It's not even about Popovich's game-to-game adjustments, given he's viewed as one of, if not the greatest coach of all time.

He didn't have to say it for everyone else to know exactly what he was thinking, what he and the rest of the Houston Rockets were thinking. "He has at every stage and every competition for years".

This specific type of play - the P&R pull-up three foul we've seen a lot of from Harden, Chris Paul, and others this season - is something the NBA's competition committee must address this summer.

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