No Tony Parker or Kawhi Leonard yet the San Antonio Spurs, once again, proved why they are regarded as quite possibly the best franchise in the last twenty years. They game into a potential series-clinching game six on the road without their MVP and Defensive Player of the Year candidate wingman and they were also without their long-time starting point guard. The Spurs handed the Rockets a crushing 114-75 loss.
It was all San Antonio from the start. The Spurs went to LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol in the post early and allowed Jonathon Simmons, who started in place of the injured Kawhi Leonard, and Patty Mills, starting in place of the injured Tony Parker, to create on the perimeter with them. San Antonio Led by seven after the first quarter, 19 at halftime and by the end of the third quarter, their lead ballooned to 23 and ended with a 39 point differential by the final buzzer. It was never really close.
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) May 12, 2017
Six Spurs reached double figures for the game led by former All-Star big man LaMarcus Aldridge. He scored 30 points on the night as the focal point of San Antonio’s offense and also grabbed 12 rebounds. Simmons put up 18 points starting his first career postseason contest, Patty Mills scored 14 and Danny Green and Pau Gasol each up 10. Spurs rookie point guard Dejounte Murray came off the bench for 11 points of his own with 10 rebounds.
James Harden no-showed at home and put up a putrid stat line, 10 points, 7 assists, 6 turnovers and he also fouled out. Trevor Ariza scored 20 on the night to lead Houston and Clint Capela scored 15 with 12 rebounds. For Harden, it’s just another chapter in his long line of NBA Playoffs disappointments. This performance, and his fourth quarter plus overtime showing in game 5, joins his disappearing act in the 2012 NBA Finals, the finality of the Rockets epic 3-1 series comeback over the Los Angeles Clippers in 2015 and the end of their 2015 Western Conference Finals appearance against the Golden State Warriors.
The San Antonio Spurs advance to the Western Conference Finals and faceoff with the Golden State Warriors. Their series begins on Sunday at 3:30 PM ET on ABC. ESPN will be the home of the Western Conference Finals.