After a dramatic finish in Game 5, can the Rockets bounce back?
No matter how you look at this, determining the victor of this series wasn’t going to be an easy task. Sure you look at it and say, well how in the hell did Houston not take advantage of an injury riddled Spurs team who lost Kawhi Leonard to an ankle injury late in the game, and Tony Parker who’s possibly done for good? Well the simplest answer is the fact that these two teams know each other pretty damn good, and no matter who’s on the team it’s always going to be a dog fight.
Manu Ginobili turned back the clock in Game 5 digging deep to put up a vintage classic Manu performance for the ages. Sure the box score didn’t reflect that points wise, but the man was everywhere defensively, dishing out assists and had the block heard around the world which sets up this huge Game 6 tonight.
James Harden‘s triple-double is unquestionably outshined after being blocked from that possible game-tying three, and who knows what could’ve happened in a double OT. Ryan Anderson and Patrick Beverly came up huge yet again, and for the most part it seemed as if Houston had this game wrapped up not allowing San Antonio to breath, as they would go on to hit three after three to extend their lead.
Looking ahead to Game 6, closing out the series in Houston is not going to be easy. Not only do you have to deal with a furious Rockets team who’ll be on a mission to even this up, but the atmosphere is going to be in full effect with crowd roaring from beginning to end. The Rockets will game plan as if Kawhi Leonard is going to play, but it’s going to be interesting to see what Pop throws out there.
I have a weird theory that Pop is going to rest Kawhi tonight if his ankle injury is serious, and will take his chances starting Ginobili at the PF position, and will continue to throw different lineups in to try and confuse the Rockets. Ultimately this may not sound wise to some people, but if Kawhi is out there dragging his foot, and both teams have to go back to San Antonio for a Game 7, then resting Kawhi could be the best option for the Spurs here.
I don’t expect another close game here. Game 5 was clearly the best game of the playoffs thus far, not just of this series, but post-season in general. I see it going one of two ways. The Rockets come out on fire and blow out the Spurs straight down I-10 setting up a Game 7, or the Spurs tighten up in a game that’s going to be nasty and not so high scoring, but doing what needs to be done to close this out. Either way this is a must win for both teams tonight.
Orlando Torres covers the NBA for MyFantasySportsTalk.com | Follow him on Twitter @itslandoyo