wnol.info October 19 2017

Kawhi Leonard, Ever Cautious, Says Spurs Still "Need Adjustments"

October 19 2017, 11:44 | Van Peters

It's a clash of the styles, ideologies and the Texas derby. Spurs lead the series 2-1. The San Antonio Spurs have won five of their last nine road games. Not when their big men get outworked by LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol in the way they did, protecting the rim and closing off all the angles for the easy shots that the Rockets drilled them on in Game 1.

The idea that San Antonio didn't stand a chance against the Rockets because of one hot night was absurd.

However, this does allow Popovich to keep his second unit intact with Mills.

Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard scored 26 points apiece in San Antonio's first postseason game without Parker since 2001, which ended an National Basketball Association record of 221 straight playoff appearances for the Frenchman. San Antonio out-rebounded Houston 49-39 and were excellent on defense, despite not stopping Harden this time.

That isn't who the Rockets are, who they've been. Popovich has done a good job taking the temperature of each contest and adjusting his game plan accordingly. That streak ended when Toronto beat the Cavs in Games 3 and 4 of the Eastern Conference finals, but the Raptors couldn't duplicate the feat this time around.

Date/Time: Sunday May 7th, 2017. Leonard has to play more point forward without Parker, which is a lot to ask from San Antonio's best scorer and defender.

In Game 3 though, the Rockets did not have an answer for its poor shooting.

"It's not about how many points I score", Anderson said. They lit up the scoreboard with 22 made 3-pointers in Game 1 of this series.

"It sounds kind of counterintuitive, but it's not really about defence", Popovich said about defending the Rockets in transition.

James Harden led the Rockets with 43 points after scoring just 13 in Game 2.

Game 2 seemed to enforce those themes early on as the Rockets thwarted every Spurs run and held firm until the fourth quarter. And it showed. He moved up and down the court well, he was able to push off on the block, he felt good shooting the ball. The 92 points were the least amount of point scored this entire season, so they should bounce back. Houston is 60-30 overall, 33-12 at home and 46-44 against the spread.

Certainly, Murray didn't expect to be in this position when the series began last week. The San Antonio bench vastly outplayed that of Houston, scoring 26 to Houston's 10 and shooting 9 of 27 (33 percent) to Houston's 3 of 13 (23 percent).

After averaging a league-leading 11.2 assists during the regular season and 12 in Games 1 and 2 in San Antonio, Harden produced five assists in Game 3. It wasn't just the 26 points - the most he's scored in these playoffs - but the renewed confidence that was encouraging to see. "I've just got to get comfortable again and just go out there and play".

Parker is now 22nd in National Basketball Association history with 6,634 assists.

For the second straight game the Warriors started out hot, and while the Jazz played better - pushing the Warriors at points - it was still too much Kevin Durant (25 points) and Draymond Green (21) in the end that had the Warriors holding on for a 115-104 win. Games 3, 4, 5 - and maybe even 6 and 7 - in this chess match should be entertaining.

All of those attributes were embodied in the Spurs, a team is a well-oiled machine.

And they are not almost as effective when they can't get out in transition and take advantages of mismatches and cross matches that favor them. After an unsettling opening sequence against Beverley, Murray settled down to commit only one more turnover. The Rockets could pull even but fail to cover, and at these prices, I'm will to bet it will happen this way. DeMar DeRozan had a stand-out game, but Toronto just isn't on the same level as Cleveland at this point or at any point. I'm set at 216 for this game, so keep a close eye on the target and the odds movement to grab the bet.

Other news