The Spurs went to Houston under a whirlwind of emotions. With Tony Parker out for the remainder of the playoffs with a now surgically repaired torn quadriceps tendon, the Spurs had to face the reality of playing a playoff game without the Wee Frenchman for the first time in sixteen years while also remaining focused on the task at hand.
The other challenge was finding a way to physically replace Parker’s surging production in this postseason, particularly as the Spurs second leading scorer and only constant one behind Kawhi Leonard. They needed someone to show up and take over that role, namely LaMarcus Aldridge, and he did just that last night by playing with sense of urgency and making quicker decisions. More of this, please.
Recapping Game 3 from both sides
The writers over at 16winsaring.com looked at what went right or wrong for both teams in Game 3, lessons learned, and provided predictions for Game 4.
Flipping the script on small ball
After a Game 1 blowout where the Rockets sniped the Spurs out of their own building by making threes and getting out in transition against the Spurs’ two-big lineups, it looked like the Spurs were going to have to go small to stand any chance of keeping up in this series. While they have used some small ball, they have found other ways to disrupt the Rockets game plan while staying big, and it all came to fruition in Game 3.
Defense also wins games
The Rockets didn’t just miss shots last night; the Spurs’ defensive scheme had a lot to do with their struggles as well. From running their shooters off the three-point line, to packing the paint and forcing the Rockets into their least favorite shots in the mid-range, the Spurs defense once again showed why they are the best in the league. Who says Pop doesn’t make adjustments?
Have some juice to go with that juice
Nutrition is a key aspect of professional athletes’ careers, and the Spurs...always a step ahead of everyone else in finding new, innovative ways to keep their players healthy...have taken that a step further by providing each player with their own, personal, custom-named freshly squeezed juices. Kawhi-Zilla sounds good to me, but I’m not so sure about Bala-8...I like my juice sweeter than that.
- ESPN’s Kevin Pelton answered several questions in his weekly mailbag, including if Kawhi is the best non-lottery pick of all time.
- Here is yet another analysis of the league’s three-point shooting foul epidemic, spear-headed mainly by star point guards, especially James Harden, and to an extent, Lou Williams.
- Ironically, Rockets fans who have defended this type of foul got a taste of their own medicine in Game 3 when Patty Mills was going around a screen, got brushed by Wiliams’ out-stretched hands as he was screened off, and hoisted up an otherwise ill-advised three for the free throws. The Toyota Center booed and chanted at the refs, and Twitter had it’s collective fun with the whole situation. (hat tip to PtR Twitter since I don’t have it myself and am greedily using some of its re-tweets from last night.)
Rockets fans really mad about that Mills foul? Seriously?— Travis Hale (@LubbockElitist) May 6, 2017
Funny to watch Houston moan over exact same thing Harden lives on.— Aaron Preine (@PreinePS) May 6, 2017
Rockets fans, I get you booing that call, but have you watched Harden? That's a go-to for him this season.— Kurt Helin (@basketballtalk) May 6, 2017
Houston fans don't get to boo that call. Harden's going to win MVP thanks to a hundred of those calls.— David McGinnis (@dav_mcg) May 6, 2017
Lou Williams complaining about that kind of foul call is kinda rich.— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) May 6, 2017
The Toyota Center crowd is shocked, shocked, that a player would exaggerate contact on a 3-point attempt in this establishment.— Mike Finger (@mikefinger) May 6, 2017
It’s not fun having that kind of foul called against your team, is it? Have a good weekend!