Tuesday, March 7, 2017

NBA Game of the Week | San Antonio Spurs vs. Houston Rockets // 03.06

 San Antonio Spurs vs. Houston Rockets 
3/6/17 -  AT&T Center

Kawhi Leonard is incredibly clutch! 

I could end the post there-if I'm being perfectly honest-but before we venture there, let's get into a few game highlights, shall we? 

The Rockets' visit to San Antonio was the team's fourth time this season playing against the Spurs, as well as the final meeting between 2/3 of the top 3 teams in the West.  Although their last few wins were close, Spurs have really been balling out lately and last night was no different, putting them at 8 consecutive wins right before they welcome the Sacramento Kings to home court Wednesday night. 

Photo Credit: Soobum Im - USA TODAY Sports
Not only was this one of the most important games for the Houston Rockets, this game was another opportunity for them to show how they're maintaining after the Lou Williams trade last month. NBA trades tend to give me anxiety, so I don't personally like to follow trade rumors and all that, but according to reports, he's what the Rockets have been missing. Some fans would certainly question that, but to his defense, right off the plane Lou was able to prove himself to be an asset, scoring 27 points his first time ever wearing a Rockets' jersey without a single practice with his new team.

Up 39-23 in the first quarter and James Harden going 6-7 from field, with 18 points in and 6 assist, Houston mostly lead by double digits early on. Throughout the first quarter, the Rockets were able to efficiently double up on the Spurs, conquering the lead role in most of the first half. However in true Spurs Nation form, Spurs responded with new found ambition in the second half and that's when the game became a different competition. It was the perfect storm.

By third quarter, Rockets were still in the lead at 57-47 following Harden's 3 point jump shot. Eventually, Spurs heal the 10 point deficit cloud hovering over them with a 3 point shot by Danny Green, followed by 2 more consecutive 3 point shots by Tony Parker. David Lee dunks and San Antonio has caught up with their rivals, maintaining that 2 point difference the remainder of the game. Both teams switched places a few times when it came to who took the lead, especially in the fourth.

Fast forward to fourth quarter, Eric Gordon secures a 3 point shot, tying the game at 107. Watching this game, I just knew it would go into overtime, considering there was less than 2 minutes left. After a few plays and a couple missed chances to seal the deal, James Harden's 1 out of 2 free throws places his team back in the lead at 108, probably thinking it would be enough to secure a win, but Leonard dismissed that fantasy with a quickness with his game winning 3 point dagger to the heart. Kawhi Leonard is incredibly clutch! The crowd went bananas! Those are the kind of climatic moments sports' fans live for.

It was already over at that point, but with high hopes, Harden drove the ball full speed up court, but Leonard was not having it. blocked. Nene caught the rebound, but Lamarcus Aldridge wasn't playing either. blocked again. Basically, all Houston's attempts to utilize the final 26 seconds to their advantage, were literally knocked down and Spurs walk away in victory.

Key players were obviously Leonard and Harden, both putting up 30 + points for their respective teams and both in question for MVP. Other double digit scorers were LaMarcus Aldridge and Tony Parker for the Spurs; Patrick Beverly and Trevor Ariza for Houston.
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