Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Spurs set up Warriors meeting as Harden and Rockets crumble

Spurs set up Warriors meeting as Harden and Rockets crumble

LaMarcus Aldridge posted a double-double, and the short-handed San Antonio Spurs rolled into the Western Conference finals with a 114-75 victory over the Houston Rockets on Thursday night at Toyota Center.

Manu Ginobili gets all ball on James Harden.

"Everything falls on my shoulders", said Harden. 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.

The Rockets lost by 39 points at home in an elimination game. "But it happened. Now we move forward", said Harden, who averaged a spectacular tally of 29.1 points, 11.2 assists and 8.1 rebounds during the regular season, via ESPN.

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Anyway, the Spurs won the series in six games.

Matthew Jordan of Sportsbook Review feels that the Warriors are going to win Game 1 of the 2017 NBA Western Conference Championship, but he suggests taking the 10 points and backing the Spurs.

Harden finished with just 10 points on two-of-11 shooting and had six turnovers before fouling out with 3:15 remaining.

Leonard had an MRI on Monday and will not play in Game 2, leaving the Spurs angry at what they considered a dirty play by Pachulia and frustrated by their predicament. "I was making some passes, and we just didn't knock down shots - or whatever the case might be. With that being said, they're competitors, I'm a competitor, guys on my team here, the Spurs, are competitors".

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By halftime Harden had as many points as turnovers (five each), and just two field-goal attempts at the intermission. The resilient Spurs overcame a career-threatening injury to Tony Parker against Houston and will need a healthy Kawhi Leonard to compete with a stacked Golden State roster.

After acknowledging for several years that they aspire to be Spurs 2.0, the Warriors will come face to face with the real thing in the next round of the playoffs.

Houston coach Mike D'Antoni wasn't sure if the disappointment of losing a winnable Game 5 could have lingered with his team and contributed to this embarrassing blowout. They battled like insane.

"They murdered us that in first game with rebounds, but that was the first game of the season. They played well and we didn't". "It goes to show, I think we have everybody here that's capable of getting the job done". "I can't explain it". When asked if he protested when he chose to sit him, Popovich said: "He'd rather play". "We just didn't have that pop".

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Not only were the Rockets a sieve defensively, allowing the Spurs to shoot 53.1 percent, but they were helpless on the boards and inept on offense. But this? It was as bad as season-ending exits get. It's pretty good. It could have been better, but we're in the right direction.

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