12 May, 2017
They missed several wide open threes down the stretch that likely would have changed the complexion of the game. Twenty-four seconds later, San Antonio led by two. The record-setting Rockets have rolled when they've made their 3-pointers, hitting 22 in Game 1 and 19 more in Game 4. "I didn't think about it too much on the way here, but I'll think about it and I'll let you know tomorrow or the next day or maybe not. For sure, it's going to be a tough battle over there", said Ginobili, who had 12 points and the game-saving block on James Harden. Expect to see plenty of Ryan Anderson at the 5 and expect the Spurs to punish Houston inside.
You had the feeling the Spurs' role players were in for a big night when 39-year-old Manu Ginobili threw down an emphatic dunk in the first half. The two-time Defensive Player of the Year has played phenomenal defense on Harden in the fourth quarter throughout this Spurs-Rockets series.
"I think we all made a decision to be aggressive", Green said of Leonard's absence, "regardless of what was going to happen". Manu Ginobili switched with Jonathon Simmons to defend James Harden at the three point line.
But despite the Leonard-less finish, cold shooting and mental errors, the San Antonio Spurs came out on top.
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Patty Mills (8) tried to elevate the Spurs' spirits after the loss of Tony Parker, and he helped that cause by soaring to a 20-point performance in Game 5. He's just the fifth player in National Basketball Association history to average at least 30 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in a single postseason.
Green later tweeted something seemingly meant as a response to Thomas, whose Celtics are tied with the Wizards 2-2 with Game 5 of their East semifinal set for Wednesday: "Just get through that series bro ... They're a great offensive team", Leonard said. Leonard pledged to play in Game 6, but uncertainty has gripped the Spurs again. The Spurs failed to take a shot on their final possession, with Patty Mills banking in a 3-pointer after the buzzer sounded. If they go there with the mindset of coming back to San Antonio then it should be a seven game series.
The second round series between the San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets has been one hell of a series so far.
The series returns to Houston on Thursday, where the Rockets fight for the opportunity to extend this series to its deciding game. Coach Mike D'Antoni has used an eight-man rotation throughout the playoffs, but didn't add anyone to the mix on Tuesday in the first game since backup center Nene suffered a torn thigh muscle. He is expected to play game 6.