If San Antonio wants to hang with Golden State, it'll need someone to emerge as a pleasant surprise in this series.
At the final National Basketball Association playoff game between the San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets Thursday night at Houston's Toyota Center, one pair of Rockets fans got a little more than they bargained for when they were put on the infamous kiss cam during a break from play.
Yesterday the San Antonio Spurs completed their goal. Now, as James, Durant and their teammates wait on the next opponent for the respective conference finals, the world is watching as they move their unblemished, 8-0 teams ever closer to an anticipated Cavs-Warriors rematch that might finally come to fruition at last in a matter of weeks.
The team's decision to give Leonard enough time to recover proved to be correct, considering that the player got the needed time to totally heal without hurting their gameplay. He's been spotty for the Spurs throughout the playoffs, though he finished with 34 points and 16 rebounds against the Rockets in Game 6. "I was trying to be more dominant down there".
The Spurs were without star duo Parker (quad) and MVP contender Kawhi Leonard (ankle) as they advanced to the Western Conference finals against Golden State.
Game one of the best-of-seven Western Conference Finals will be played at the Warriors' Oracle Arena on Sunday (Monday 5.30am AEST).
To his credit, after the game Harden stood up and took responsibility for the loss.
"Everything falls on my shoulders", he said. But here's the kicker: typically when a team is an offensive or defensive juggernaut, they struggle on the other end of the floor, leaving them vulnerable as a whole. You know, it's tough, especially the way we lost at home for Game 6. "I've been on both sides of this thing. It is going to hurt and linger", said Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni. It is just the second time this decade the best offense and best defense have matched up in the postseason.
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Curry and Thompson scored 29 and 23 points, respectively, for the Warriors. Will San Antonio run off 3-point shooters similar to the Houston series or will the Dubs catch fire and rain threes all over San Antonio? But the Spurs will be without starting point guard Tony Parker, who is out for the season after tearing his quad in the Rockets series.
San Antonio ended up winning by 39 points, 114-75. He didn't even take a shot in the first quarter. He made that 3-pointer to whittle the lead a bit, but it didn't get the Rockets going.
During the regular season, the Warriors led the league scoring 113.2 points per 100 possessions while the Spurs led the league holding opponents to just 100.9 points per 100 possessions. The Warriors shot 51.2 percent overall (43/84) and were 50 percent (13/26) from the 3-point line. I felt like we've been to hell and back in just three hours. Trevor Ariza (ah-REE'-zah) was Houston's top scorer with 20 points.
San Antonio Spurs guard Jonathon Simmons (17) dunks the ball during his side's semifinal win over the Houston Rockets. Leonard is one of the game's most impactful two-way players, averaging 27 points, six rebounds and four assists in splitting a pair of games against the Warriors this season.
Anyway, the Spurs won the series in six games.
Game 1: Sunday at Golden State, 12:30 p.m.