Sport

Spurs set up Warriors meeting as Harden and Rockets crumble

Spurs set up Warriors meeting as Harden and Rockets crumble

However, in the aftermath of yet another postseason loss to Popovich and the Spurs, Houston Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni had cause to feel abjectly disheartened.

Though Harden posted a tally of 28.5 points, 8.5 assists and 5.5 rebounds during 11 postseason games, he wasn't almost as efficient, making only 27 percent of his three-point shots.

Harden scored just 10 points on 2-of-11 shooting Thursday with the Rockets season on the line, to go with six turnovers.

The upcoming series against the Warriors will likely see Mills matched up against Stephen Curry, joining Matthew Dellavedova as Australians who've gone up against the two-time MVP in recent post-seasons. That effort in a critical game stands to lengthens Popovich's rotation in the Western Conference Finals, and beyond if the Spurs advance, with Simmons particularly proving himself to be a viable fill-in for Leonard defensively.

Capela had a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds.

Without the likes of Kawhi Leonard, who injured is ankle before Game 6, the Spurs still had too much for the Rockets, which included the likes of MVP-candidate James Harden. The Spurs improved to 16-3 when taking a 3-2 lead in a best-of-seven series. They were just making more of their shots and James Harden kept turning the ball over. "Demanded the ball, got in good position. he was wonderful on the boards and of course he passes it really, really well and gets it moving for us".




While San Antonio fought through six games with the Rockets, the Warriors have been off since wrapping up a sweep of the Utah Jazz on Monday. The Rockets' 75 points were second-lowest in a game during the Harden era.

Mills had a career playoffs-high 20 points in the game-five win against the Rockets earlier this week and was again a major factor on Thursday, shooting six-of-10 from the field. Leonard missed the overtime period in game 5 against Houston after tweaking his left ankle, and sat out game 6 while the Spurs rolled over the Rockets by a final of 114-75.

Everyone seems to think it was inevitable since midseason (or maybe even earlier): The Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors would tear through the National Basketball Association in the regular season, shrug off any competition in the playoffs and meet for a third straight year in the Finals. The Spurs led the rest of the way with things getting steadily worse all the way to the end. In fact, he went so far as to say, "To me, it's a joke to get on him".

The Spurs, who took the series 4-2, earned a berth in the West finals for the 10th time since Gregg Popovich became their coach 18 games into the 1996-97 season.

"For whatever reason, this game we didn't have the juice and the stuff", D'Antoni said.


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