February 22, 2018

Spurs face quick turnaround before conference finals

14 May 2017, 01:27 | Marlene Fleming

"Pray", Popovich told reporters on Saturday.

About what, neither would divulge.

In what has been a relatively smooth road to the Western Conference Finals, the Golden State Warriors have been presented with the ultimate test, set to go head-to-head with the rival San Antonio Spurs, led by MVP candidate Kawhi Leonard.

It's with that spirit he's offered James Harden the chance to have the Based God's Curse lifted off of the Houston Rockets player following their stunning 39-point loss to the San Antonio Spurs last night (May 11).

Despite all-league defender Kawhi Leonard, who primarily guarded Harden through the first five games, missing the game with an ankle injury, Harden was extremely passive. "Demanded the ball, got in good position. he was wonderful on the boards and of course he passes it really, really well and gets it moving for us". "[He got] to the rim, did a really good job". San Antonio clobbered the Warriors on the glass (55-35).

That came as a result of the Spurs absolutely pounding the Rockets in the paint. Aldridge seemed to alternate between hot and cold during the six-game win over Houston so getting consistent play out of him will be key if the Spurs are to make a dint in the pairing of Zaza Pachulia and Draymond Green. However, the coaching team chose to let Leonard completely recover from his injured left ankle so he can be 100 percent ready when their team faces the Golden State Warriors.

The Spurs, who took the series 4-2, earned a berth in the West finals for the 10th time since Gregg Popovich became their coach 18 games into the 1996-97 season.

Nowitzki accomplished the feat twice against Aldridge's team, the Portland Trail Blazers (2003, 2011). Even more were just poor decisions.

ESPN added that Leonard was given complete treatment for his sprained left ankle on Thursday while his team played against Houston. "I don't know that we contested any of them".

If you check out the responses to that tweet, you'll understand just how unbelievable it is. Houston Rockets center Clint Capela (15) shoots as San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) and guard Patty Mills (8) watch during the first half in Game 6 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series, Thurs.

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While D'Antoni and the rest of the players were required to address Thursday's porous effort, Harden was nowhere to be found on Friday's exit interview day.

"He's had a historic year", Rockets guard Lou Williams said. "They stayed with a big lineup, and it gave us problems".

Can the San Antonio Spurs take an early lead against Golden State?

"Sometimes, you relax", Gasol said when asked how a team responds to a diluted opponent". Save his energy, play him less, manage it better. That's what we did with the guys we had healthy and ready to play.

"Obviously, you see [he] had a tough game".

"We need to get better as a group", he said.

"I don't know if it's true or not, but it's nearly like mentally it just zapped us", he said. Green has been the Spurs' worst nightmare in recent years, as he has proven to be a pest and further headache on both ends of the floor.

"I don't think too much about carrying over this, that, or the other", Popovich said.

"They were the more physical team today", Wall said.

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