Spurs Book Date With Warriors in West Finals
The Spurs dynasty was said to have ended with their Game 1 blow out loss to the Houston Rockets on their own home floor.
In true Spurs fashion, they continued to prove naysayers wrong. After pulling out a pivotal Game 5 victory over the Rockets in overtime, the Spurs strolled into Houston for Game 6. Without their superstar Kawhi Leonard, and away from the comfy confines of the AT&T Centre, the Spurs shocked the Rockets and the rest of the basketball world with a statement 114-75 victory, bounding the Rockets from the 2017 NBA Playoffs.
With Leonard sidelined, it was LaMarcus Aldridge who woke up from his slumber, leading the Spurs with 34-points and 12-boards en route to the win.
“He’s been like that through these first two rounds,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said after the win. “He’s really turned it on and demanded the ball.”
Rookie Dejounte Murray add 11-points and 10-rebounds off the bench, while former D-Leaguer turned NBA sensation, thanks to Coach Pop, Jonathon Simmons dropped 18-points of his own while playing the lead defender role on James Harden. Harden finished the night with a very un-MVP-like 10-points and seven rebounds. The Rockets superstar shot 18.2% from the field, turned the ball over six times and if that wasn’t already enough, ‘The Beard’ fouled out as well.
“It happens,” D’Antoni said. “I just told the guys, they had an unbelievable year. … We’ll figure that out and get better this summer and then come back and do it again. It was a pleasure coaching them. They tried to do everything they could to make it a great year. I’m proud to be their coach. I know they feel as bad as I do.”
While the Spurs are off to face the Golden State Warriors in the next round of the playoffs, it cannot be understated the strides the Rockets have taken this year in Coach Mike D’Antoni’s first season with the squad. The Rockets return after a train-wreck of a season riddled in controversy to take the West’s three seed, eliminating a tough Oklahoma City team from the playoffs and holding tough through six games against the veteran Spurs.
The Western Conference Finals will kick off on Sunday night as the West’s two best team prepare to compete for the Western crown.
Oh, and some bad news for the Warriors – Leonard is expected to return to action!