Houston Rockets fail to launch in Game 3
By Kelly Iko
James Harden’s 43 was not enough as the Houston Rockets played catch up all night, eventually falling to the Spurs 103-92.
Remember when the Houston Rockets opened a can of ass-whooping in Game 1 and everyone said the Spurs were old and done and the dynasty was coming to an end?
Yeaaahh, so about that…
Houston had a great opportunity to take Game 3 and put its foot down in this series. Instead, the Rockets fell to the Spurs and in doing so, lost home court advantage and head into Sunday’s game with a must-win scenario.
Houston does not want to go back to San Antonio down 3-1–this is not the 2015 Clippers they’re up against. This is a machine. This is a 2009 Toyota Corolla. Of course everyone wants the 2017 Audi A8 and talks about the new Tesla. But the Corolla is tried and tested, and still gets you from point A to point B with no issues.
The first half of Game 3 was real ugly playoff basketball. Houston shot 29 percent from the field and somehow was down by four. At this point the Rockets were playing with fire, too many wide open shots were being missed and the Spurs weren’t capitalizing.
When you look at the box score, the thing that might pop out is that James Harden finished the game with only five assists. He also had 43 points which might get lost in all the rubble, but the Rockets simply didn’t make their shots he created.
Harden had just 13 passes for potential assists, down from season ave of 21.5. But he produced his usual 56 points. Others have to step up.
— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) May 6, 2017
Every time Houston would go on a mini-run and close the gap in the second half, a Patty Mills three or an Aldridge fadeaway would kill the hearts of many in Toyota Center.
LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard finished with 26 apiece, with Patty Mills as the next high scorer at 15.
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For a bench that has been strongly praised throughout the year, Houston got 10 points out of Eric Gordon, Lou Williams, and Nene combined. That is not going to cut it in the second round of the playoffs. Getting outrebounded 64-45 doesn’t help matters either.
All things considered, San Antonio just wanted the game more. They fought for the 50/50 balls, the missed shots for extra possessions. The loss of Tony Parker to injury really brought the Spurs together, and Houston simply wasn’t up to the task.
The good thing is that Houston tends to bounce back from things like this. Yes, one of the most prolific offenses in NBA history was held under 100 points in back to back games, but as we’ve seen in Game 1, when Houston hits their shots it’s almost impossible to stop.
Next: 3 keys to beating San Antonio
The question now is whether it’s a little too late or not. We’ll find out Sunday in Game 4.