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Houston Rockets vs. Spurs game 5 preview: Lineup changes

May 3, 2017; San Antonio, TX, USA; Houston Rockets shooting guard Eric Gordon (10) drives to the basket while guarded by San Antonio Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard (2) during the second half in game two of the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
May 3, 2017; San Antonio, TX, USA; Houston Rockets shooting guard Eric Gordon (10) drives to the basket while guarded by San Antonio Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard (2) during the second half in game two of the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
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The Houston Rockets trailed 2-1 just a few days ago to the San Antonio Spurs, but they have a chance to take a 3-2 lead tonight in game 5 of the series.

Many predicted this series between the Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs would go to seven games, and it’s looking as likely as ever. Each team has won a game at home and on the road, and each superstar has put up great performances in their own right.

Tonight’s matchup will be supremely important for the Rockets. If the Spurs lose, they will still have a chance to close out the series on their own home court. If Houston loses, though, they’ll have to win game 7 on the road in front of one of the most hostile fanbases in sports.

Things could get interesting for game 5 with Mike D’Antoni throwing out an unusual starting lineup. With Nene‘s out due to injury, Eric Gordon will start in place of Ryan Anderson. That’s right–Houston’s going small ball.

As expected, Gordon to start for Rockets; Anderson backup center. Could be 7-man rotation, barring foul trouble, fatigue issues.

— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) May 9, 2017

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There likely won’t be a second where either Clint Capela or Anderson won’t be on the floor to contest rebounds from Pau Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge, and David Lee. Montrezl Harrell is simply too small to handle the boards by himself.

To win tonight, James Harden and the gang will have to push the pace. The Spurs want to slow things down and run sets, and they’ll win if they force the Rockets to do the same. Fast breaks should be sought earnestly after missed shots and turnovers.

With just seven players likely to get big minutes, it brings up a question of fatigue. Hopefully the team will be rested enough to handle pushing the ball up the court all game long.

A win tonight for either team puts them in great position to see the Western Conference Finals. Lets hope the Houston Rockets can steal another one on the road.

Next: 3 keys to beating San Antonio

Tip-off will be at 7:00 CT tonight, an hour earlier than what has become the norm this postseason. Tune in to TNT to watch the action.

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