Friday, 22 September, 2017

Spurs defeat Rockets to take 2-1 series lead

Clarence Duncan | 08 May, 2017, 06:11

But they shoot about 45 percent, so you know how we - offense we just let ourselves down.

The task in video sessions and a brief practice on Saturday was for the Rockets to push back in their own minds against the narrative that the Spurs took them completely out of their game in Friday night's 103-92 loss on their home court. If the Rockets continue to run their offense through James, the best scorer in the league, they will be hard to beat in this game.

Um, who needs a point guard? Harden entered Game 3 averaging 12 assists in the series.

The Spurs have not necessarily taken the last two games by taking the Rockets off their favorite places on the 3-point line.

That's awhile. Yes, 221 playoff games, in fact.

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

"Yeah, I think so", conceded guard Patty Mills. However, Harden started the game off poorly again.

In a postseason filled with twists and ill turns, there have been a few constants for the Spurs: Kawhi Leonard's excellence and Gregg Popovich's remarkable malleability.

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

"He's going to do whatever he does", Popovich said.

"I'm a guy that's always ready to go", Murray said in a video on the Spurs' website.

There will be a counterpunch from the Rockets in Game 4, and we've all seen what they're capable of doing when they get rolling. Guys couldn't get open and when they were they weren't making them. After shooting 1 of 5 in the first quarter, Leonard made a dunk with 3:37 left before adding a baseline turnaround jumper, a second-chance basket and two free throws to lift the Spurs to a 43-39 halftime lead.

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. It's enough to drive you insane but you just do your best. "That's why games are not 30-20".

Aldridge awoke early in both of those contests, scoring six points in the first quarter of each.

Gasol had been coming off the bench since last starting January 17, but his addition as a starter in Games 2 and 3 has triggered a turnaround based on defense and clutch shots.

Of course, a lot of it has to do with good Spurs defense, but the shot distribution was a disaster for the Rockets. "He has at every stage and every competition for years". We got to play. He also swapped regular starter David Lee for Pau Gasol from the start, which gave the Spurs a little more versatility, even if the lengthy center scored just 2 points before hitting the bench. Nene was downright bad, going scoreless on five attempts with only three boards. Kevin Love finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds, while Kyrie Irving pitched in with 16 points and five rebounds. There are going to be nights like last night, and I obviously want to try to be more aggressive.

More than seeding or home-court advantage, Popovich said, the Spurs needed Parker in order to stay competitive against the other heavyweights in the Western Conference playoffs.

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