After Game 4, Rockets-Spurs becomes battle of willpower and philosophy
May 08 2017 by Dustin Murphy
The real story of this game was pace - the Rockets were running again, and the Spurs again got sucked into playing fast for stretches. The Spurs defenders found a way to run the rest of Houston's shooters off the three-point line;Ryan Anderson, Patrick Beverly, Eric Gordon and Lou Williams went a combined 2/14 from deep.
Best of three. Muscle and thunder vs. speed and lightning. "I think I just go with basketball instincts".
I noted in my preview piece about this game that Aldridge was the series X-Factor. The Rockets self destructed and the Spurs capitalized. They stifled the Rockets offense time and time again. But the Rockets matched them with speed and 3-pointers. But Harden recorded two assists following the intermission and had just one teammate reach double figures in scoring after halftime. San Antonio Spurs fans should look for something big from Murray as he gains more experience.
Beverley scored 10 points and added six assists in the 125-104 win that evened the second-round series at 2-2.
"What was going through my mind was going. 3. 2. 3". Just eight percent of their shots came in that area during the regular season.
The Rockets have surrounded Harden with capable 3-point snipers and slashers, but they struggle when forced to put up 15-18 footers or flick up running floaters. These adjustments are not a never-ending series of counter-moves.
The Rockets exploited foes based on decisions Harden makes with the ball, and when he is able to score and facilitate, their offense is often overwhelming.
The news led to an understandably emotional scene in the Houston locker room, but Beverley elected play in Sunday's Game 4. "They hit some shots and they won", D'Antoni told the Associated Press. He has been the X-Factor in all of the Spurs wins and it has been proven that we CAN'T stop him. Houston had another rough night shooting, going just 32-of-88 from the field and 12-of-39 from the arc. "But they were that intense, they were that focused and professional, and we were not". It's not a safe way to go, but you have to exploit what you have.
Other than Harden and Ariza, the Rockets made 2 of 14 3s. In Game 3 we saw he and Beverly having what did not look like a friendly conversation as the game got out of hand, and in the first half tonight Harden seemed to have a few choice words for the Aussie after an otherwise innocuous offensive foul.
So that's it - if they check off these aforementioned tidbits to work on their list, there should be no reason why they shouldn't win Game 4. He should be fine for Tuesday's critical Game 5 in San Antonio. May. He suffered, but he's in a better place now.
There will be a counterpunch from the Rockets in Game 4, and we've all seen what they're capable of doing when they get rolling. "So it was that bad". And they were that professional.