Defending Rockets' Harden is a chess match worth watching

Adjust Comment Print

It's been the story of the season for them, as they went 19-26 ATS at home.

Perhaps more importantly, though, they not only allowed San Antonio to believe they can win without point guard Tony Parker, but they failed to come up with any sort of tactical response to the Spurs' Game 2 and Game 3 strategy of allowing James Harden to bomb away and keeping their defenders attached to the Rockets' perimeter players.

The Spurs snatched home court advantage back in this series by winning their second straight game and leaving the Rockets, beaten to the punch basically all night, to wonder what might have been had they could scrap their way to what could have been their most critical win all season.

If the Rockets want to get back on track, they need to up the pace on the offensive end. Houston Rockets center Nene, left, blocks the shot of San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili during the first half in Game 3 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series, Friday, May 5, 2017, in Houston.

With Tony Parker out, LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard picked up the slack and scored 26 points apiece for a 103-92 Spurs victory.

"Aldridge sooner or later is going to go off because he's an All-Star", Houston coach Mike D'Antoni said. "They did have 21 turnovers but we just didn't convert them". Now, we have to make them. But the Spurs were turning the ball over so often and missing so many shots that they didn't give their defense a snowball's chance in hell.

The Rockets' offense struggled at times again, and were held to under 100 points in consecutive games for the first time this season. Houston actually had two less attempts from the line, with the Spurs equaling the Rockets' 16 points from the charity stripe. Harden, was all alone on the offense for the Rockets for much of the game, finishing with 43 points on 14 of 28 shooting (50 percent) while the other four starters shot just 37 percent for the game. "You have to move on to game four, see what you did wrong, see what we did wrong in game three and try to do better at it next game".

North Korea's Kim Jong-un is 'pretty smart cookie'
McMaster, said North Korea's most recent missile test represents "open defiance of the global community". It flew for several minutes and reached a maximum height of 44 miles before it apparently failed.

"We're not even going to put that in the air right now", he said. "Offensively we just got to get guys involved, guys just got to have confidence and knock down these shots and be aggressive".

And even though the insertion of untested rookie Dejounte Murray out of Washington proved ineffective, the decision to add Gasol to the lineup since the Game 1 blowout loss continues to pay dividends.

Although the Houston Rockets hung in there for quite some time, the bottom fell out down the stretch and our team started to wave the surrender flag. No, they're not. We kind of bought into it.

A carbon copy performance Sunday will most certainly send this series back to San Antonio with the Rockets in a hole, one that might not be able to shoot their way out of.

Houston guard Patrick Beverley said Harden's ability to draw fouls is a skill that has been developed over time. We were defending, we just couldn't get anything to fall and it happens.

Physically speaking, Murray was making his first playoff start against the Rockets in Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals.