Harden Missing; Leonard-less Spurs Rout Rockets, Win Series 4-2

As if there wasn't enough evidence of Harden's struggles - and really, the eyeball test was more than enough - it spoke volumes that even Spurs coach Gregg Popovich wasn't sure what to say to him afterward. In the regular season, the two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year scored 25.5 points per game on 48.5 percent shooting. Standing in their way is a playoff-tested San Antonio team, albeit one that is without injured point guard Tony Parker and now has a banged-up Kawhi Leonard. Relaxed and with nothing to lose. During the game, which was the sixth of the Western Conference Semifinals in the NBA Playoffs, Harden shot an abysmal 2/11 from the field on his way to 10 points, 7 assists and 6 turnovers. And the Rockets - in particular, Harden and Coach Mike D'Antoni - exit the postseason with plenty of questions to answer after an utter capitulation in front of their home fans. This sequence of events would be too much for nearly any basketball team to overcome in the span of a seven-game series. We got five, six days of rest.

The woman immediately started laughing upon seeing herself and her pal featured on screen, as the fitting "What I Like About You" by The Romantics played.

Game 6 was probably the best the Spurs looked defensively all series. "LaMarcus (Aldridge) on the block, Kawhi penetrating, Danny Green and Patty Mills from the three-point line and then offensively we know if we move the ball we'll be OK". The Spurs improved to 16-3 when taking a 3-2 lead in a best-of-seven series.

That makes three big games in a row for Simmons, who averaged 13.2 points, 2.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.2 steals in 23.5 minutes per game in the series as the Spurs went 4-2 to advance to take on the Golden State Warriors in the next round.

Here are some of the factors at play at the start... I take responsibility for it, for both ends of the floor. They stuck to what they figured would work, the players bought in, and it paid off in Games 5 and 6.

I also expect to have most of this team back because for all intents and purposes, the chemistry was there and things worked around here.

Klay Thompson will guard Leonard when Durant sits. Look for him to exceed those numbers with increased minutes in the Western Conference Finals assuming his ankle can hold up. And Curry. And Thompson.

"That's the tough part about being James", Anderson said.

"He's been like that through these first two rounds", Popovich said of Aldridge. The Rockets, who set an National Basketball Association record by making 1,081 3s in the regular season, have averaged 20.5 3-pointers in their two wins and just 13 in the three losses.

"To me, it's a joke to get on him", Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said Friday. Houston had a chance to tie Game 5 as overtime expired, but Harden's shot was blocked from behind by Manu Ginobili.


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