Game Day: Houston Rockets
Record: 53-26, Western: 6th Record: 53-25, Western: 3rd,
Southwest: 3rd, last ten 9-1 Southwest: 2nd, last ten 7-3
San Antonio Spurs vs. Houston Rockets
Fri Apr 10, 8:00 PM EST – NBAt, CSNH, KENS, RTSW, C+D
Toyota Center – Houston, TX
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- If we considered the game Wednesday important tonight’s match is crucial. After spending the entire season in the upper seeds of the West a loss tonight would result in the Rockets plummeting to the lower tier and losing home court advantage. Worse it would likely result in facing San Antonio in the first round.
- As I highlighted last game the split of these two games is the key. While Memphis has moved above them again there is still an opportunity for Houston to capture the second seed if they win tonight and finish strong versus New Orleans, Charlotte and Utah which are all winnable games.
- Memphis has a harder schedule remaining having to play Utah, the Clippers, the Warriors and the Pacers. Other than the Jazz each of the Grizzlies remaining games feature teams with something at stake. Though Golden State don’t have to win, allowing Memphis to win easily may not be in their best interest, especially after they lost badly to the Spurs. Indiana may still be in a fight for either the seventh or eighth seed so that final will be pivotal to determining who actually makes the post season.
- The Spurs are now on a 9-game winning streak and aren’t just winning they are doing it convincingly. They’ve posted win margins of double digit in each game. While Houston did fight back with their reserves Wednesday, the game was well out of hand by the time they entered.
- While we got to see the new leader for the Spurs in Kawhi Leonard we also witnessed how crucial the play of Tony Parker is to the Spurs functioning at their best. Entering Wednesday it was thought he wouldn’t be available, but he played and played well. The loss of Patrick Beverley was evident by Jason Terry and Pablo Prigioni’s inability to slow Parker so coach Kevin McHale will need to find a solution defensively to slow the Spurs back court tonight.
- As we close in on the end of the regular season awards talk is rampant and while there is debate regarding who the MVP will be a second consecutive loss to the Spurs would surely dampen James Harden‘s chances of winning the coveted prize. The recent article by Fran Blinebury only adds more fuel to the fire as Harden is quoted as saying he deserves the award and has earned it. Steph Curry exploded for 45 points Thursday night and has led his squad to a franchise best record, so if Harden wants people to take what he told Blinebury seriously he’ll need to produce an effort tonight to ignite the voters into recognizing he has a reason to be standing on that soap box. Given that I expect Harden will be looking to make his presence felt tonight with a strong showing whether it be via scoring or a complete game of involving his teammates offensively and defending either Parker or Leonard well. To that end, expect the Beard to come out guns blazing tonight.
- As pointed out a loss tonight doesn’t end the Rockets season, but it will present an uphill battle for them to retain home court and it will require scoreboard watching to see what Memphis does in their final games.
- As noted in my article Wednesday and the update Thursday Donatas Motiejunas underwent a minor back surgery and is gone for the remainder of the regular season and playoffs.
Next: The Numbers Don't Lie