How the Spurs Were Able to Bounce-Back
After a crushing 27 point defeat by the hands of the Houston Rockets in Game 1, the Spurs looked lost and many people began to wonder if the Spurs would even be able to keep up with the Rockets in the series. The Rockets had everything going as they hit 22 threes and held the Spurs to under 100 points. The Spurs looked too old to keep up with the Houston Rockets. However, the Spurs came back in Game 2 with their own blowout as they won by 25 points. So what exactly changed? How were the Spurs able to rebound after such a devastating Game 1 loss at home?
Strong 4th Quarter
The difference between Game 1 and Game 2 for the Spurs is their defense in the fourth quarter. In both games they were able to score over 30 points in the fourth, but their defense in game two eventually led them to a win. In Game 1, the Spurs allowed the Rockets to score 30 points in the fourth, but in Game 2 the Spurs held the Rockets to 13 points. They outscored them 33-13 in the fourth allowing them to pull away and get the victory. Tremendous defense down the stretch led the Spurs to the victory.
They Contained James Harden
It’s not every day that you see James Harden go 3 for 17 from the field and only hit five free throws, but when you have Kawhi Leonard as your primary defender that’s always a possibility. Harden didn’t have great numbers in Game 1, but he was completely shut out in Game 2 as he only hit three field goals and was a minus 13 on the court. Harden may not want to admit it, but he was played well by Leonard and that was a huge reason why the Spurs won.
Lamarcus Aldridge Added Something
If you are just tuning into these playoffs, I’ll let you in on a little secret. Lamarcus Aldridge hasn’t been playing well, at all. In Game 1, he played 25 minutes and only scored 4 points and grabbed six rebounds. It was the first time he was held under double digit points in his Spurs playoff career. He was a minus 36 on the court, arguably his worst performance ever. So of course after a game like that he could only play better and he did. In Game 2 he added 15 points and 8 rebounds. It may not be the greatest stats, but he definitely helped the Spurs, especially on the boards as they outrebounded the Rockets by 15.
If you weren’t a fan of Leonard before the playoffs started, you should be now. Kawhi Leonard has been playing extremely well, but more importantly extremely efficient. He wasn’t great in Game 1, but in Game 2 he was virtually unstoppable. He scored 34 points and shot 13 of 16 from the field. If Kawhi Leonard plays like that or even a fraction of it, the Spurs will win every time.
The Spurs played well enough to tie the series heading into the Game 3 tonight. It will be interesting to see which San Antonio Spurs team show up tonight as they will be without Tony Parker the rest of the way. With his injury, they may play harder for him or struggle to score like in Game 1.