Spurs rout Rockets 121-96 to tie series 1-1, but Parker injury casts pall over win

Spurs vs. Houston Rockets
Western Conference semifinals
(Series tied 1-1)

Game 1: Rockets 126, Spurs 99, Monday, AT&T Center
Game 2: Spurs 121, Rockets 96, Wednesday, AT&T Center
Game 3: Friday, 8:30 p.m., Houston
Game 4: Sunday, 8 p.m., Houston
Game 5: Tuesday, May 9, (time TBD), AT&T Center
Game 6: Thursday, May 11, (time TBD), Houston*
Game 7: Sunday, May 14, (time TBD), AT&T Center*
*if necessary

SAN ANTONIO – We’ve got a series, Spurs fans.

Kawhi Leonard scored 34 points and flirted with a triple-double Wednesday night, leading the Silver and Black to a 121-96 dismantling of the Houston Rockets that tied the Western Conference semifinal series 1-1 at the AT&T Center.

The Spurs' victory came two nights after the Rockets torched the Spurs for a franchise-record 22 three-pointers in a 126-99 blowout on the same floor in Game 1. 

But the big question Thursday will be whether San Antonio point guard Tony Parker is done for the remainder of the playoffs after he injured his left leg in the fourth quarter.

Parker left the game with 8:43 remaining after he missed a floater in the paint and fell to the floor awkwardly. The sellout crowd of 18,418 fell silent  as teammates Dewayne Dedmon and Dejounte Murray carried Parker off the court and to the training room 

Parker will have an MRI exam Thursday, the Spurs said in a tweet Wednesday night.

"It's not good," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said, when asked after the game about the severity of Parker's injury.

The series moves to Houston for Games 3 and 4 on Friday and Sunday. 

Parker's teammates spoke somberly when they addressed Parker's injury with the media.  

"What is hard is to see him limping and hurting now," said Manu Ginobili, who has played 15 seasons with Parker. "You kind of know we are not going to see him anytime soon. That is a tough blow. Tomorrow they are going to tell us. 

"We will have to regroup, reorganize the game plan, the starting five, and the rotations. We'll try to step up, but it is hard to lose a player like Tony. At first I thought it was just a Charley Horse. It looked like he got hit in the quad, but he couldn't even put weight on it to come back to the locker room. That is when we got worried."

Parker finished with 18 points, hitting 8 of 13 shots, including 2 of 2 from the 3-point line. He also had three rebounds and four assists. He averaged 15.9 points and 3.1 assists in the postseason. 

Leonard had his way with the Rockets, hitting 13 of 16 shots, including 3 of 4 from long distance. He also had seven rebounds and a career playoff-high eight assists.

LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 15 points and eight rebounds, and Jonathon Simmons came off the bench to score 14 points. Danny Green rounded out the Spurs’ double-figure scoring with 12 points.

"I think the win is muted because of a number of reasons, not just that," Green said, alluding to Parker's injury. "We didn't take advantage of home court in the first two. We are supposed to take care of home court, and we didn't do that. So that means we have to go into Game 3 more focused, and try to get that advantage back by getting a win first game out in Game 3."

Pau Gasol, who started for the first time since before he broke his left hand on Jan. 19, finished with only six points, but he had 13 rebounds and four blocks.

Gasol started 39 games this season before breaking the fourth metacarpal in his left hand on Jan. 19, in a freak accident. He missed 15 consecutive games before returning to action in a reserve role on Feb. 24. Gasol came off the bench for the remainder of the season and all six games against Memphis in the first round of the playoffs.

David Lee had started the last four games at center for the Silver and Black.

The Spurs' offense was considerably better than it was in Game 1, shooting 54.5 percent overall (48/88) and racking up 27 assists. The Silver and Black shot 37.5 percent (9/24) from the 3-point line.

San Antonio led 33-30 after one quarter and 65-55 at halftime. The Spurs were up 88-83 going into the fourth quarter, and broke the game open with a 19-0 run that put them ahead 118-88 with 3:14 left. 

Ryan Anderson led Houston with 18 points. Trevor Ariza finished with only two points after leading the Rockets with 23 points, including five 3-pointers, in the series opener. James Harden, Houston’s leading scorer finished with 13 points and 10 assists.

Houston shot 44.6 percent overall (37/83) and 32.4 percent (11/34) from long distance.

Here is a quarter-by-quarter breakdown of Wednesday night's Spurs-Rockets game: 

Final: Spurs 121, Rockets 96. Series tied 1-1. Game 3 is Friday in Houston. Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs with 34 points on 13-of-16 shooting. He hit 3 of 4 attempts from the 3-point line. He also finished with seven rebounds and seven assists. 

Fourth quarter (4:55): Spurs 111, Rockets 88. Kawhi Leonard has scored 34 points on 13-of-16 shooting. He is 3 of 4 from the 3-point line. He also has seven rebounds and seven assists. The Silver and Black have outscored Houston 23-5 in the quarter.

Fourth quarter (8:43): Tony Parker falls to the floor after missing a floater in the lane. Parker is carried off the court and to the training room. Initial reports are that he injured his left knee when he fell awkwardly. Parker has 18 points on 8-of-13 shooting and four assists.

Fourth quarter (10:08): Spurs 97, Rockets 83. The Silver and Black are on an 11-0 run, 9-0 to start the period. 

End of third quarter: Spurs 88, Rockets 83. Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker lead the Spurs' scoring with 26 and 18 points, respectively. The Silver and Black are shooting 54.4 percent overall (37/68) and 36.8 percent (7/19) from the 3-point line. They have 23 assists. Ryan Anderson leads Houston with 18 points. James Harden has 13, 10 in the third quarter.

Third quarter (2:49): Spurs 82, Rockets 76. Kawhi Leonard leads all scorers with 24 points. Tony Parker has 18 points, seven in the third period. Ryan Anderson leads the Rockets with 18 points. 

Third quarter (9:23): Spurs 71, Rockets 65. Houston has gone on an 8-0 since the Silver and Black led 71-57.

Halftime: Spurs 65, Rockets 55 

First-half notes: Kawhi Leonard leads the Silver and Black with 20 points and Danny Green and Tony Parker have 12 and 11, respectively. Green has hit 5 of 5 shots, including 2 of 2 from the 3-point line. Parker is 5 of 8 and 1 of 1, and has passed for three assists . . . Ryan Anderson (15) and Eric Gordon (12) lead Houston. Trevor Riza has only two points after leading all scorers with 23 points in Game 1. Ariza nailed 5 of 10 3-pointers in the series opener. He is 0 of 3 from long distance tonight. Rockets point guard James Harden struggled in the first two quarters, scoring only three points on 1-of-9 shooting, including 1 of 5 from beyond the arc. He finished the half with four assists . . . The Spurs shot 56.3 percent overall (27/48)  and 46.2 percent (6/13) from the 3-point line in the first half. They had 19 assists on their 27 made field goals . . . Leonard hit 7 of 9 shots, including 2 of 2 from the 3-point line. The Silver and Black had only one turnover in the first two quarters. The Rockets had five . . . Houston shot 51.2 percent overall (22/43) and 40 percent (6/15) from beyond the arc. The Rockets had 12 assists on their 22 made field goals. 

Second quarter (2:29): Spurs 61, Rockets 48. Tony Parker nails a 3-pointer from the corner to give the Silver and Black their biggest lead of the half. Kawhi Leonard leads the Spurs with 18 points and Danny Green has 12. The Silver and Black are shooting 59.1 percent overall (26/44) and 54.5 percent (54.5) from the 3-point line. The Spurs have 18 assists on their 26 field goals 

Second quarter (5:51): Spurs 50, Rockets 46. Kawhi Leonard leads the Silver and Black with 14 points. He has hit 6 of 7 shots, including 2 of 2 from beyond the arc. The Spurs are shooting 62.2 percent (23/37) overall and 44.4 percent (4/9) from the 3-point line. 

End of first quarter: Spurs 33, Rockets 30. Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge lead the Silver and Black with eight and six points, respectively. Ryan Anderson leads Houston with 10 points. The Spurs had 11 assists on their 15 made field goals. The Silver and Black shot 57.7 percent overall (15/26) and 42.9 percent (3/7) from long distance. The Rockets were 52.2 percent (12/23) from the field. They shot 50 percent (4/8) from the 3-point line. 

First quarter (3:33): Spurs 25, Rockets 19. The Silver and Black had a nine-point lead before Ryan Anderson buried a 3-pointer. Timeout Spurs. Anderson leads Houston with 10 points on 4-of-4 shooting. He is 2 of 2 from the 3-point line. 

First quarter (6:23): Spurs 19, Rockets 16. Kawhi Leonard leads the Silver and Black with eight points on 3-of-3 shooting. He's 2 of 2 from the 3-point line. 

SPURS-ROCKETS: Silver and Black eager to atone for Game 1 meltdown

Spurs vs. Houston Rockets
Western Conference semifinals
(Rockets lead series 1-0)

Game 1: Rockets 126, Spurs 99, Monday, AT&T Center
Game 2: Wednesday, 8:30 p.m., AT&T Center
Game 3: Friday, 8:30 p.m., Houston
Game 4: Sunday, 8 p.m., Houston
Game 5: Tuesday, May 9, (time TBD), AT&T Center*
Game 6: Thursday, May 11, (time TBD), Houston*
Game 7: Sunday, May 14, (time TBD), AT&T Center*
*if necessary

SAN ANTONIO – Caught in the vortex of a perfect storm Monday night, the Spurs were no match for the hot-shooting Houston Rockets in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinal series.

Led by Trevor Ariza, who scored 23 points and made 5 of 10 shots from the 3-point line, the Rockets rolled to a 126-99 blowout that had Spurs fans heading for the exits at the AT&T Center early in the fourth quarter.

Ariza, point guard James Harden (20) and center Clint Capela (20) combined for 63 points and led six Houston players who scored in double figures. The Rockets torched the Silver and Black from the 3-point line, nailing a franchise-record 22 of 50 attempts.

Houston led by as many as 39 points in the final period and handed the Spurs their worst Game 1 loss of the Gregg Popovich era.

“They did a great job,” Popovich said Tuesday. “They had a great night at both ends of the court. They’re a heck of a team.”

Game 2 tips off at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at the AT&T Center. 

Before Game 1, the Spurs stressed the importance of containing Harden and the Rockets’ high-scoring offense and executing well offensively themselves. They did neither.

While Harden finished with only 20 points, he was highly proficient in running Houston’s freewheeling offense, dishing out 14 assists as he consistently found wide-open shooters.

Falling behind by double digits quickly, the Spurs ran head-on into the trap of speeding up their offense as they tried to get back in the game. In the end, the Silver and Black got buried by playing at Houston’s pace.

“I think at that point it’s a matter of composure, and remembering how you need to play,” Popovich said. “We weren’t very good at that.”

Houston finished the regular season second to Golden State in scoring offense, averaging 115.3 points. 

"The tough part about a Houston or a Golden State is that when they make their runs and they're able to get out there hitting shots, even contested shots, they can kind of snowball quick on you. That's what they did last night." 

Given how they were embarrassed on their home court, the Spurs were ready to hit the reset button long before the final buzzer sounded.

“Any team that gets beat like that at home, you kind of want to redeem yourself as quick as possible,” guard Danny Green said.

The Spurs’ subpar offensive performance made it easy for the Rockets to run and take advantage of mismatches in the transition game. The Silver and Black shot only 36.9 percent (31/84) from the field and were 31 percent (9/29) from the 3-point line.

“We didn’t get good shots or take good shots,” Green said. “Didn’t move the ball like we normally do, allowed them to get out in transition. It’s hard to guard a team that great, shoots it that well, in transition and try to match up."

“We’ll see if we make some shots, take better shots, move the ball, slow down the pace. I think it’ll help us slow them down on their offensive end.”

So how can the Spurs take control of the pace?

“Well, it would help if we made some shots,” Green said. “Offensively, just move the ball more and get it inside a little more. But we’ll see. That’s my decision. I’m not the one making the game plan. I think slowing down the pace would probably be our advantage.”

Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs with 21 points, 11 rebounds, and six assists. Tony Parker scored 11 points and was the only other starter in double figures. Jonathon Simmons came off the bench to score 11 points, all in the fourth quarter.

One storyline after the game was the performance of forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who finished with only four points on 2-of-7 shooting and six rebounds.

Popovich was asked if Aldridge’s willingness to pass sometimes makes him passive on offense.

“That’s not a problem,” Popovich said. “Transition defense was horrible. Choices offensively were horrible. We just didn’t play a very wise game in any respect. We laid an egg, but a lot of it was due to their good play. It’s not like we played badly and that’s why we lost."

“We played badly and a lot of the bad was because of their aggressiveness and their wise play. Give them credit. They kicked our fanny in every way, shape, and form.”

Despite the lopsided defeat, Popovich was in an upbeat, lighthearted mood Tuesday when he spoke with the media before the team watched film of Game 1 at the Spurs’ practice facility. He chuckled several times as he engaged in lighthearted banter with reporters.

“What do I know?” Popovich said at one point. “We just lost by 50. What are you asking me questions for anyway? Ask somebody that knows something, who can fix this.”

Coach and media shared a hearty laugh. Popovich turned serious when he talked about the Rockets’ domination in the series opener.

The Rockets led 34-23 at halftime and 69-39 at halftime. The Spurs outscored them 28-27 in the third quarter, but the damage was done by then. With San Antonio trailing 96-67 heading into the final period, Popovich sat all his starters for the rest of the game and Houston played mostly with reserves.

“You can’t do a whole clinic in the playoffs,” Popovich said. “It’s pretty late in the year. You figure out what you did well, and what you did poorly, what you think you can improve on if you’re going to make any adjustments. Get it, get them out of there, and go play Game 2."

“We’ve been in all those these situations before. Won by a lot, lost by a lot. Everybody knows, they’re all pros, you go to the next game to see if you can get it right.”

© 2017 KENS-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment