NBA Playoffs: Rockets win a matchups, take divided Spurs’ advantages in Game 1 rout

SAN ANTONIO — The San Antonio Spurs are not going to play many worse in their second-round array vs. Houston than they did in their 126-99 detriment to a Rockets. It’s also puzzled that a Rockets will play many improved than they did for a rest of this series. The calls after a diversion from both teams was “It’s one game,” as Gregg Popovich summed adult a diversion as usually he does, with “We lost, and they won, and they played better.” 

But for a Spurs, a regard comes not from a 27-point domain of feat for Houston, or a 39-point biggest lead, or a transition points differential (27-9 by 3 quarters). The regard comes from a fact that a Rockets not usually won in a edges we would design them to, yet that they dominated so many matchups that should have left their way. To wit:

  • Ryan Anderson is delayed of feet and tiny in status compared to many bigs. He should be a actor that is exploited, and instead, a Spurs had a 64.3 points per 100 security symbol with Anderson on a building by a initial 30 minutes. For comparison, a Rockets scored 122.3 points — scarcely double that — with Anderson on a floor. Anderson was a improved defensive actor than LaMarcus Aldridge in Game 1, digging for dual steals and adding dual deflections. He combined 5 rebounds, one fewer than Aldridge.
  • If a Spurs are going to play dual bigs as they did for many of a game, they have to retaliate Clint Capela inside, or a guards who breeze adult on switches. Instead, Aldridge shot 2-of-7 from a margin and was totally lost, as Capela flummoxed him and a Rockets helped yet being punished for it as Aldridge forsaken a ball. 
  • Kawhi Leonard was 5-of-14, a minus-16, and Trevor Ariza was a best defensive actor on a floor. That’s disastrous. 
  • James Harden had 14 points and 9 assists with Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green on a floor, a plus-9 in 18 minutes. He had thee turnovers, yet dominated in those mins on a night where he didn’t even have to be great. He was 3-of-6 from 3-point range. 
  • The Rockets outscored a Spurs by 23.6 points per 100 security when Harden was on a bench.

All of these areas where a Spurs should have had an advantage got flipped upside down, and all a areas they were going to lose, they lost, too. The Rockets strike 15 3-pointers in 3 quarters. The Spurs strike 9 for a game, total. The Spurs’ large group were run off a floor, and Popovich still stranded with two-big lineups consistently. 

“Well, we played large all year prolonged opposite Houston,” Popovich said. But if you’re going to skip shots, or take discerning shots, brash or contested shots, fast in a shot clock, if you’re creation them all it’s no problem. But when we get behind in transition with a dual bigs that’s a problem.” 

Maybe some-more shocking than anything for a Spurs was their miss of composure, that is as many a bedrock of their substructure as Leonard or Tim Duncan was. Dewayne Dedmon became a initial Spur to be ejected given Robert Horry in 2007 (vs. D’Antoni’s Suns, of course). Nene became concerned in a ruckus that led to his ejection, a ruckus that a Spurs were concerned in. Kawhi Leonard undisguised shoved Patrick Beverley in a behind after a dual became tangled adult in a third quarter. It wasn’t a “create separation” shove. It was a disappointment shove, a singular impulse of tellurian tension from a male so mostly compared to a cyborg. 

The Spurs have a maestro care to settle and pierce past it, to stay coiled, yet those same veterans put adult no quarrel vs. a Rockets’ assault, either. So they have to find a change between a tension a younger Spurs showed, and a restraint that’s indispensable from a vets. 

More than anything, though, they have to strike shots. The Spurs entered this array as a defensive juggernaut, a Rockets a group talked about as an offense-only squad, even if that was overblown. San Antonio shot 37 percent, and those misses non-stop adult transition shot after transition shot, that Popovich attributed a 3-point volume to.

It’s easy to demeanour during Game 1 and contend “just a bad game,” and it positively was. But San Antonio has to recover a aloft belligerent in a matchups the adored in, since Houston is too good to trade matchups with. The Spurs will play improved in Game 2. 

Because it’s unfit for them to play worse. 

Do you have an unusual story to tell? E-mail