Kawhi Leonard expected to play Game 1 vs. Golden State


And while criticism that his style of basketball can't work in the playoffs is foolish - the way D'Antoni's Phoenix Suns teams played has become the blueprint for offenses around the league - this failure, and particularly how it unfolded, will follow the Rockets into the summer.

With a home game, the Rockets were looking forward to having a home-court advantage, but that quickly disappeared.

San Antonio was up by 23 after the third quarter and scored the first seven points of the fourth to make it 94-64 and send numerous home fans streaming to the exits.

Prior to Game 6 against Houston, the medical team of San Antonio put Leonard in a "questionable" status. From the outside, it seemed like Gregg Popovich was content to cede Thursday night's game to better their odds at a Game 7 victory at home. Aldridge made the All-Star team last season while learning to work as a second option behind Kawhi Leonard, and once San Antonio reached the playoffs, he shredded OKC for 79 points in the first two games of their second-round series.

I know I said it wasn't just about the next man up mentality this team has, but that's still a pretty big reason for their victory.

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Last night, May 11, was a no good, terrible, rotten night if you're a Houston Rockets fan.

Already without veteran Tony Parker, who suffered a season-ending quadriceps injury in Game 2, the Spurs looked to be the underdog entering this one without Leonard's scoring and defense. But even without a gimpy Leonard, who was averaging 24 points and 10 rebounds in the series, the Spurs were relentless while receiving contributions from everyone.

James Harden has been discussed as a potential regular-season MVP candidate.

Since then, Lil B has taken credit for all of Harden's playoff missteps. "It stings. We've just got to figure out a way to get better and we will".

A $100 bet on the Warriors to win the series would win $6.25.

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The highest scorer for the Spurs was Lamarcus Aldridge with 34 points and 12 rebounds, while Trevor Ariza led the way for the Rockets with 20 points.

After all, how many risky behind-the-back passes - a la Harden - do you see the Spurs make?

"We understand that the team we're now facing is the most unsafe team in the league with a lot of weapons", Pau Gasol said.

"That's the mountain we've got to climb", D'Antoni said.

But we really should focus on just how brilliant the Spurs were without their best player. He added 18 points on 8-for-12 shooting; Patty Mills had 14.

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