Harden, Rockets rout Spurs 125-104 to tie series

Harden, Rockets rout Spurs 125-104 to tie series

Harden, Rockets rout Spurs 125-104 to tie series

"The tale was really told in that first quarter", Gregg Popovich said after the game, noting the lack of an edge the Spurs played with. "I thought they drove it with objective, found people, and we started the game really without an edge and getting beat in transition again, like we did in Game 1". No more letting San Antonio dictate the tempo that tortured them so in those Game 2 and 3 losses.

With the Rockets-Spurs series tied 2-2, nobody can predict the victor of this bracket.

They tried. Then, they failed. Houston outscored its opponents by 11.3 points per 100 possessions with the Brazilian big man on the court, the second-best mark on the team behind benchmate Lou Williams, per NBA.com. "It shouldn't get us by surprise". Or Houston could use 6-8 athletic power forward Montrezl Harrell, who has played only sparingly in the postseason, to fill in. That unit scored 22 points and was a +14 in seven Game 4 minutes.

Nene left Sunday night's game after playing 103 seconds, and he exited with an apparent groin injury.

Sparked by six 3-pointers, two each by Harden and Gordon, the Rockets put the Silver and Black on their heels with a 22-6 run that gave Houston a 79-61 lead with 5:42 left in the third period. The Spurs lost veteran playmaker and "heart and soul" Tony Parker in Game 2 to a leg injury. In Game 1, San Antonio allowed 28 points in transition. Harden shared the same sentiment and called on other big guys to step up with the untimely sidelining of the Brazilian center.

When James Harden and his electric cast of shooters are locked in, they're almost impossible to stop - just ask Gregg Popovich and Kawhi Leonard. "If you had seen clips of our transition D (Sunday), you would trade all the players and fire me by the end of the game". It was that bad. Way more intense. "They were that intense, that focused and that professional", Pop said. "And we were not". After laying a 27-point mollywhopping on San Antonio in Game 1, Houston dropped Games 2 and 3 due in part to crucial defensive adjustments by the Spurs that threw Houston's potent high-screen game into chaos.

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When the Rockets aren't trying to find new ways to solve this Spurs puzzle, players and coaches alike have a habit of playing the popular cell phone game, "Words with friends", with one another as a way to unwind. He often tapped his heart and pointed to the sky before the game, a gesture he repeated when he hit a 3-pointer in the first quarter.

"It's rewarding when you can advance", James said.

At his best, the off-kilter Harden is doing exactly the opposite what you think he's about to do. They're going out there every day and pretty much sweeping every team they're facing. When all it takes for the ball to land in Anderson's pocket is Green turning a mere eyelid toward Harden, the defense is forced to scramble as quickly as fast as his eyes move - an impossible proposition. Whatever we want to do, we want Pat. "It's interesting how the mind works".

Houston was 19 out of 43 from beyond the arc for 44 percent. He averaged 10 points and 4.7 rebounds while shooting 70.6 percent from the field in 17.9 minutes per game in the playoffs.

"It's what they do".

"Game 5 is a Game 7", Ginobili said after Game 4.

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