Spurs Cruise By Houston Rockets In Potential Playoff Preview
By Lee Golden
James Harden: 22 Pts, 4 Asts, 4 Rebs, 1 Stl
Tony Parker: 27 Pts, 4 Asts, 1 Reb
James Harden joked with Gregg Popovich about their beards early in the game but Pop was sure to get the last laugh. The Spurs rolled over the Houston Rockets in a likely playoff preview in convincing fashion. The Spurs’ win only confirms Rockets’ fans worst nightmare which is Houston may become victim to a first round exit in the postseason.
A chance at retribution. 48 hours. pic.twitter.com/o9i0ifzXPb
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) April 9, 2015
- The Rockets get a chance to recoup and show resilience during their rematch on Friday. Hopefully the loss they were just handed will be sour enough for them to seek revenge at the Toyota Center and send a message right back.
- Houston came out with a ton of energy in the first quarter and rightfully so. They hadn’t played since Sunday so there was plenty of time to rest. If they can exert the same energy and purpose throughout the entire game, they can still manage to win ball games.
- Also in the beginning, they did an excellent job at attacking the rim. Even Jason Terry was slicing to the basket. Against a stingy Spurs defense, it proved that the Rockets have a talented-enough roster to get the job done.
The Rockets have now dropped down to the third seed (previously the second) and if they lose on Friday to San Antonio, they will plummet all the way to the sixth seed
- Well, there were a number of bad aspects to this game for Houston. The most significant being their position in the playoff race. The Rockets have now dropped down to the third seed (previously the second) and if they lose on Friday to San Antonio, they will plummet all the way to the sixth seed.
- Usually the Rockets’ lead slips when Harden’s on the bench. This time, he was on the floor as the debacle occurred. Houston fell in love with the jumpshot and strayed from what put them ahead.
- Their enthusiasm quickly emptied in the second half and allowed Spurs’ fans (and players) to soak up momentum. If Houston happens to fall to the bottom four playoff teams, they’ll need to understand the importance in taking the crowd out of a game as each series will probably be played on the road.
- As many times the Rockets got into the paint, the Spurs did too and then some. Patrick Beverley is dearly missed but his absence can’t be dwelled on. Now that Dwight Howard is back there has to be some type of resistance in the paint. They can not continue to allow 62 points inside as they did Wednesday.
- Lastly, and certainly not least, the Rockets’ have learned that they’ll be without Donatas Motiejunas for the remainder of the season. Motiejunas has been battling back issues and during his rest period, he has not progressed. The multitude of injuries have devastated Houston’s season but if they fight hard enough, they’re still capable of making a solid playoff run.
To open the game, the Rockets were playing solid help defense which forced a Spurs’ timeout after an 8-4 run. After the timeout, both teams lived up to their hype and put in a flutter of buckets. Parker could not be contained as he scored 12 of his 27 points in the opening period. Harden was not to be out done though. He also put in 13 first quarter points that aided the Rockets to a one point advantage during a high scoring affair.
In the next frame, the Rockets came out with the same energy. Howard and Josh Smith led the bunch to an eight point lead before Harden came back in but ironically, that’s when the Spurs made their run. A flurry of missed jumpers and turnovers led to San Antonio points that helped the Spurs capture a four point lead after closing the quarter on a 16-4 run. Unfortunately, it did not get any better after that.
San Antonio continued to outwork Houston in the second half. After a series of Kawhi Leonard layups and Tony Parker jumpers, the lead had ballooned to 15 points. Whether the Rockets would go over or under the screens, Parker would make the appropriate and efficient play. The Rockets’ third quarter dry spell was too much to overcome as the Spurs held a double-digit advantage midway through the third till the end of regulation.
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