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With the Houston Rockets having almost a week off, having not played a basketball game since last Wednesday, it was flawless time for the guys to rest, recuperate and regroup for this series.
Last year, LMA played out of his mind against the Oklahoma City Thunder: 26.8 points on 52.5 percent shooting and 8.5 rebounds. Houston was excellent defensively as well, limiting the Spurs to just 39 points in the first half. But seven offerings? He's got to look for his shot more especially since he's the second option. But in reality, when the three-pointer is dropping, it opens up the floor and allows even more opportunities at the rim. Houston (probably) isn't going to shoot as well from three-point range in Game 2, either.
The San Antonio Spurs are 16-6 straight up and against the spread in their last 22 postseason home games.
It was reasonable for those that understand how the Spurs like to play, and more specifically, how the Spurs and Rockets played each other throughout the regular season. The Raptors blew a 25-point lead to Milwaukee in the first round, while the Cavs overcame a 25-point deficit and pulled off the biggest second-half rally in playoff history. LaMarcus Aldridge will need to be more aggressive, as he tries to return to the star form he boasted in Portland.
The Rockets led by 11 after the first quarter, by 30 at halftime and by 29 at the end of the third quarter, after which Harden and Ariza were removed from the game. The likely runner-up for MVP had 20 points and 14 assists in the opener and knows how to get the best out of his teammates. James Harden won't miss that pass, and Ariza didn't miss the shot.
More important for Houston, no suspension is forthcoming, leaving Nene available for Game 2 tonight at the AT&T Center.
The Rockets will keep that matchup as it is so they can put their better defenders on the Spurs' creators.
HoustonRockets center Nene Hilario was given a $15,000 fine by the National Basketball Association for "escalating an altercation" by pushing San Antonio Spurs center Dewayne Dedmon above the shoulders, it was announced Wednesday.
The HoustonRockets were willing to take whatever the Spurs gave them in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals. "We kind of got stagnant there a little bit". Leonard is good enough that he will continue to get shots off, but slowing him down is the key to disrupting the Spurs' entire offense. Their roster is filled with outside shooters and guys who can finish at the rim because, statistically speaking, the most efficient shots a team can take are either right at the basket (due to their high probability of going in) or behind the three-point line (three points are more than two).
We can take a closer look at the threes the Rockets attempted against the Spurs in order to find outlying causes.
As good as the HoustonRockets were good, the Spurs were bad.
Sheldon Souray is the biggest culprit in recent games when it comes to this malady. Dedmon and Harden each received a technical. Dedmon was issued a second technical foul and ejected in the fourth quarter.