Spurs versus Rockets Game 6: On to the Western Conference Finals

Spurs versus Rockets game 6 analysis

San Antonio is off to the Western Conference Finals after a dominant Spurs versus Rockets Game 6.

After Kawhi Leonard tweaked his leg in game 5, many thought that Spurs versus Rockets game 6 was a sure win for James Harden and company. Unfortunately for Houston, the Spurs had other plans. San Antonio dominated the ball game from the opening tip and quashed the Rockets’ playoff hopes. LaMarcus Aldridge had his best game of the playoffs and bullied his way against Houston’s frontline. Defensively, the Spurs didn’t allow the Rockets any easy buckets and made life miserable for James Harden. So who exactly did San Antonio pull off this upset? Also, how could the Rockets let this game get away from them?

LaMarcus Aldridge sets the tone on offense

Surprisingly, the Spurs had their best game in the series without Kawhi Leonard. A major reason for this was LaMarcus Aldridge’s dominant play. The first quarter saw Aldridge running roughshod over anyone Houston threw at him. Whether it was Clint Capela or Ryan Anderson, LMA made sure to make them pay for just being his defender. And with him establishing his game in the post, the rest of Spurs soon found themselves open. Jonathon Simmons and Patty Mills were particularly effective from beyond the arc. Starting in place of the injured Parker and Leonard, both did well in complementing Aldridge. The 5x All-Star power forward eventually finished the game with 34 points, 12 rebounds, 1 assist, and a steal.

Spurs dominate on defense

Spurs versus Rockets game 6 also featured one of Jonathon Simmons’ best games. The undrafted forward made life hell for James Harden from the get-go with his defense. On the other end, he also had some jaw-dropping dunks early on to help the Spurs establish an early lead. More importantly though was the energy he was able to bring. Simmons’ energy in his first start of the playoffs was crucial in helping the Spurs get ahead early. The fact that he helped limit Harden to 5 points in the first half was impressive. Remember, the Beard was averaging around 30 points in the series prior to game 6.

Harden gone missing

Another thing San Antonio had going for them was James Harden’s bad night on both ends of the floor. And when I say bad, it was really bad. After scoring just 5 points in the first half, the Beard only managed another 5 points in the second. What was interesting was the fact that he actually had a much easier time getting open in this game. In fact, there were instances where he passed up open shots for possible assists. Unfortunately, these either turned to empty possessions or outright turnovers (he had 6 of the Rockets’ 13 for the night).

The Rockets were just bad

Maybe it was because of James Harden’s performance but the rest of the Rockets did themselves no favor by also playing badly. Though they lost game 5, they did manage to at least make that competitive. By the time Spurs versus Rockets game 6 got going though, it seemed like I was watching a different Houston team. A lot of that had to do with the fact that the Rockets’ bench were utterly useless. Consider this, Ryan Anderson, Lou Williams, and Sam Dekker only managed a combined 8 points and 8 rebounds. On the other hand, Spurs rookie Dejounte Murray had 11 points and 10 rebounds off the bench. Really, the only guys who did well for the Rockets were Trevor Ariza and Clint Capela.

Tough WCF series for San Antonio

After the Spurs versus Rockets game 6 upset, San Antonio will have a mere 3 days to rest before they head to the court again. This time though, they’ll be up against the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. And while the Spurs have own the regular season series, these Warriors are different now. Indeed, Golden State has been dominant in the playoffs so far. Aside from this, San Antonio will have to contend with the uncertainty surrounding Kawhi Leonard’s availability. Should they sacrifice the first two games and let Leonard heal up? Will that guarantee a series win? These are just some of the questions the resilient Spurs will have to answer on Monday.

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