Spurs overcome Leonard injury, Harden to beat Rockets in OT
- Author: Steve Townsend May 12, 2017,
May 12, 2017, 0:39
The San Antonio Spurs look to secure this series and advance to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2013-14.
"He's a little bit more risky, so you have to pay more attention to him", Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni said of Mills before Game 5. "So I think, everybody else picked it up very well", he said. "We've had some tough starts, and he got us going".
It was Green and Ginobili who led the Spurs to the win.
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 Rockets had opportunities at the end of the 3rd quarter to widen the gap, but poor shot selection and turnovers foiled those plans.
He labored to the locker room after the win with his hand on the shoulder of Ginobili, who blocked Harden's potential game-tying three to preserve the win.
Spurs' Patty Mills (08) attempts to defend against Houston Rockets' Trevor Ariza (01) in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals at the Toyota Center on Sunday, May 7, 2017.
But despite the Leonard-less finish, cold shooting and mental errors, the San Antonio Spurs came out on top.
Green finished with 16 points, including the final seven San Antonio points in overtime, while Mills - starting in place of the injured Tony Parker - had 20 points.
This feels like a lot of points to just give a Spurs team that's capable of grinding out a victory on the road. Leonard, when speaking to reporters after Game 5, said he intends to play in Game 6.
Teams that win Game 5 in a 2-2 series go on to win the series a ginormous percent of the time. "We want to play smart", Anderson said. Kawhi's injury knocked him out of the last ten minutes of the game (including overtime) so it was up to Manu to step up his game. Game 4 marked Houston's second win by 20-plus points this series and its third of this postseason, the first time the Rockets have won multiple games by 20 or more points in a playoff series and in a single postseason in franchise history. O yeah and let's not forget that the Spurs closed out game five without Kawhi Leonard. In a game where neither team held more than a three-point lead at the quarter break, you knew it would come right down to the wire. After the game, Stripling said he was just running as fast as he could, as if he were "trying to run away from a bear".
While happy to return to friendlier confines, the Celtics say they aren't feeling any added pressure despite being unable to recover from game-changing runs by the Wizards in Games Three and Four.