Spurs' Parker carried off with apparent left knee injury

Eric Gordon brought the Rockets back but a late LaMarcus layup put the Spurs up by three. In the final minute of a series-tying Game 4 win for the Suns, Spurs forward Robert Horry delivered a hip-check to Steve Nash.

It seems unfair to ask Danny Green to be almost ideal, but that's what the Spurs need from him in this series. However, any time a team makes 22 three-pointers in a game, they are likely to win and win big. San Antonio eliminated them in the conference finals in 2005, the conference semifinals in 2007 and in the first round in 2008. "Control their fast pace". While the Clippers did not give a timetable for Griffin's recovery, he is expected to return in time for pre-season training camp in October.

The Suns were a what-if team, but not an abject failure. DeRozan, the Raptors' leading scorer this season, was limited to five points on two-of-11 shooting. The Warriors are the best modern day example of what D'Antoni envisioned when he was with the Suns.

"They're defending champs and that's what they look like right now", Lowry said.

Kerr's assessment about the 2016-17 Rockets is not far off from the truth. Their 69 points are the most points the Spurs have allowed in the first half of a playoff game since 1990 (allowed 72 to Portland in the second round). Harden averaged 29.1 points and 11.2 assists during the season. James Harden won't miss that pass, and Ariza didn't miss the shot.

The last time these two teams met in the postseason was during the Rockets' improbable run to their second National Basketball Association championship (a run which you can read about in its glorious entirety in my oral history of it from a couple years ago), when the sixth-seeded Rockets and Hakeem Olajuwon eviscerated 1994-95 MVP David Robinson and the Spurs in six games.

San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker (9) is helped off the court after being injured against the Houston Rockets during the second half in game two of the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center. "We lost by 30 points last game so we didn't want to disappoint the fans".

Nobody in the city of San Antonio could stop James Harden from getting what he wanted, so he tallied 20 points and 14 assists in just three quarters of play.

When we dig a bit deeper than the raw three-point numbers, we find the root of the problem, the reason why the Spurs have been helpless to cut down on the Rockets' relentless perimeter onslaught. Lou Williams, acquired at the trade deadline from the Los Angeles Lakers, has provided the Rockets with a huge boost off the bench.

Sure, this Spurs' team is older. San Antonio has continued to adjust its playing style to accommodate its changing roster throughout the past two decades. But the Spurs have proven to be solvable in the past two postseasons.

Of course, the obvious was that the three-ball was falling, the Rockets shot 22-of-50 from behind-the-arc for 44 percent!

D'Antoni has brushed off questions throughout the season about the validation of his offensive approach in Phoenix, preferring to say that it simply proved that he wasn't insane in the first place.

By contrast, Harden was slow on every rotation weak-side to Danny Green, which opened up the Spurs' offense, got the Rockets' defense scrambling to recover, and unlocked a Spurs' offense that was in a coma in Game 1. "They're a very good team". They're determined to overwhelm the Spurs in ways that those Suns team couldn't.

Trust the process has become a motto for some who dabble in analytics, but one of the first times I heard the phrase came from Popovich, long before Hinkie was a known quantity, after Dirk Nowitzki lit up the Spurs defense in a playoff game and Popovich conveyed no major adjustments would be coming.

  • Julie Sanders