“Can you handle the moment?”
“I can finally breathe”, he said when asked about his health. Shawshank Redemption? No. A few good men?
Popovich certainly had taken note of Nene’s play both this season and in the first round against Oklahoma City.
“It was extremely important”, Harden said of winning Game 4.
The Houston Rockets levelled their National Basketball Association playoff series against the San Antonio Spurs, while the Cleveland Cavaliers swept the Toronto Raptors.
The Rockets did what they needed to do to level the series, but they’ll be kicking themselves that they relinquished home-court advantage so quickly. LeBron James is shooting four pull-up 3s per game, up from 2.6 during the season, and making 43.8 percent of them. However when the heat was on, the Rockets folded like origami. That’s the lesson they had to re-learn in the first quarter, when that approach led to a 15-point lead just eight minutes in. He scored 15 points in Game 1 and recorded 28 points in Game 4 on 12-of-12 shooting.
Finally, the Spurs aren’t comfortable (or equipped) to play at a fast pace for long stretches of games, while the Rockets enjoy playing in transition and at a fast rate.
The main critique of the Rockets usually devastating offense is what happens when the three-point shots don’t fall. However in the playoffs, the whistle is harder to rely on.
Mills said defensive breakdowns by his Spurs left the Rockets’ lethal three-point shooters open.
It was the first of three straight 3-pointers for the Rockets in a 9-2 run that made it 79-61 midway through the quarter.
After the game, Beverley once again was left in tears.
“First, we all have to play better, but obviously the bench has been where we’ve closed the gap or went ahead”, D’Antoni said.
But afterwards, the player Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni and several teammates described as the heart and soul of this team let it all out. Lou Williams chipped in 13 points and this impressive dunk. This series tied 2-2. With Nene on the shelf, the Rockets must now look elsewhere to find the production that he has provided them all of this postseason. Juxtapose this with the Spurs, and Kawhi Leonard. Harden was 10 of 18 overall and 4 of 11 from beyond the arc. The closest the Spurs got in the fourth quarter was 14, with the Rockets leading by as many as 25.
Hit with the news that their undersized rotation would get smaller, the Rockets plotted the most Rockets-like battle plan possible.
The adjustments have clearly worked, with San Antonio evening the series through a lopsided 121-96 win in Game 2 before taking the lead with a 103-92 victory in Game 3 on Friday.
A lot of that starts with the great-passing Gasol – he had six assists – and a healthier, rejuvenated Aldridge in a high-low game that’s been effective, getting the former Texas Longhorn shots in the paint.