Even without star forward Kawhi Leonard, the Spurs pounded the Rockets in Game 6 on Thursday night in Houston, clinching the series and setting up a West Finals matchup with the Warriors.
A win by the Rockets tonight would put off the Western Conference Finals to Tuesday night; it would allow more rest for the team, and a more reasonable watching time for the fans.
Can the San Antonio Spurs find a way to finish off the Houston Rockets when the two meet in Game 6 tonight at 8PM ET? While the execution was poor, by both teams, during the overtime of Game 5 it was nice to finally have some real drama. Behind a strong performances from LaMarcus Aldridge, Patty Mills and Jonathon Simmons, the Spurs went into halftime up 19.
Leonard's injury is another blow to a team already without Tony Parker, after the veteran suffered a season-ending quadriceps injury in Game 2.
I look for the Spurs to have the best shot against the Warriors, should they get by the Rockets.
Leonard, who is officially listed as questionable, was walking slowly, but without a noticeable limp, as he arrived at the team's shootaround in Houston on Thursday. Popovich is able to squeeze every last bit of potential out of these guys, and he is the main reason behind the Spurs' eternal success. Trevor Ariza and Clint Capela were the main scorers for the Rockets and without Harden's numbers, it was hard for them to keep up. If the Rockets can pull off the win, they'll force a Game 7 on Sunday. The coach felt it was not worth the risk to play him in a non-elimination game.
Besides scoring 22 points, Leonard had 15 rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks in Game 5.
The 31-year-old Aldridge led the Spurs with 10 first quarter points as San Antonio crashed the glass and pounded the paint to lead by seven after one period, 31-24.
"We didn't quite get it done, but you know, it's a long way from being over and we'll find that energy", D'Antoni said. The Spurs have not really had an answer for Harden, as the NBA All-Star has scored around 30+ each game of the series. The Spurs lead the Rockets 3-2 in the series. I think everything was good, but I'm not a doctor. It's a rough way to go out for the Rockets, who played well this season.
With only one win, and the Spurs and Rockets will head to a final decision, Game 7, who will advance to the Western Conference Finals.