Harden, Rockets rout Spurs 125-104 to tie series

It could be if the Silver and Black don't play better than they did Sunday night in a 21-point road loss to the Houston Rockets in Game 4 of their Western Conference semifinal series. The Rockets do need to figure out how many of Nene's 18 minutes a night they're comfortable handing to Kyle Wiltjer, but that's a problem for the defensive end, and defense isn't as fun as chucking up 50 3s a game.

From James Harden on down, the Rockets emphasized the importance of having a pedal-to-the-medal mentality from here on out. But, who knows? Maybe the Rockets can survive Nene's loss and continue to roll with one of the NBA's most fun offenses. But if the Rockets score on the break, Popovich will usually order his big men to get back defensively, rather than chase missed shots, mitigating some of the Spurs' potential to outrebound the Rockets' smaller lineups. Pau Gasol made it a two-point game when he scored on the first possession of the third quarter. He was even more productive during the playoffs, averaging 10.0 points and 4.7 rebounds in 17.9 minutes per game while shooting 70.6 percent from the floor.

The second quarter saw this attractive dribble-drive-dunk by Lou Williams that electrified the crowd and made Danny Green rethink his life.

The Spurs were playing in the postseason without Parker for the first time since 2001, ending an National Basketball Association record of 221 straight playoff appearances for the Frenchman. "I don't care about how many shots I get".

Game 5 is Wednesday night in Boston. He got to the basket, Ryan, and also Lou.

Furthermore, Kawhi Leonard's offensive production took a dive.

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However, the Rockets must be determined to run at all times, including after Spurs makes. The only drawback to this fouling strategy is that the Spurs can not afford to put Green or Leonard in foul trouble, and if the Rockets get into the bonus early on, it's just an additional weapon for the rest of the team.

Yet after averaging just 5.6 three-pointers attempted in the first three games of the series - down from his 8.8 average in the regular season - he found a way to return to form: Six made threes on nine attempts, good for a 22-point outing that was his best of this postseason. "But you know, there's a bigger plan, I'm going to keep the faith of course and I am going to be there for my family", Beverley said. The Rockets are 41-of-93 (44.1 percent) from range in their two victories in the series, and they're shooting 31.5 percent (23-of-73) in the defeats. Will their defense be up to par unlike game 4? "I just need to put 'em up".

First of all, outside starting center Clint Capela, Nene is the team's only forward capable of really wreaking havoc at the five position. "Whoever it is, we've got to try to fill that role", said Harden in an interview with ESPN. "(He's) one of the leaders of our team.

How San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich counters D'Antoni's strategy could go a long way in determining who wins the clash of contrasting styles.

Rockets guard Patrick Beverley learned of his grandfather's death just hours before Houston's Game 4 matchup with the Spurs. "We've got to drive it", Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni told reporters, referencing the Spurs keeping the Rockets off the 3-point line.

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    The spread is fluctuating between 5.5 and 6 points depending on the book, basically offering us the same odds as in the last game. 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.
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