The Houston Rockets were eliminated from the 2017 National Basketball Association playoffs in the second round Thursday, losing in six games to the San Antonio Spurs.
If that's the case, look for that bench unit to perhaps find an offensive rhythm, something they've been lacking the past two series. I mean, he's had a historic year, and you can't just say, 'OK, one game.' and all of the sudden, social media goes insane.
The Spurs' 39-point romping over the Rockets was fueled by Harden's woeful shooting.
The Spurs won the 2016-17 regular season series 2-1, but the only game where both teams had their full squads was opening night, a night the Warriors would like to forget. "He's had a historic season, and we can get that better". James Harden, Houston's MVP candidate, submitted one of his worst games of the season, finishing with 10 points (on 2-of-11 shooting), seven assists and six turnovers.
Despite all-league defender Kawhi Leonard, who primarily guarded Harden through the first five games, missing the game with an ankle injury, Harden was extremely passive. In their Game 4 loss in Houston, San Antonio allowed the Rockets to take 35 combined open and wide open three-pointers.
"Hopefully", D'Antoni concluded, "this will spur us on to where we need to go and get better next year".
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.
Aldridge was the linchpin, posting 34 points and 12 rebounds, but he had plenty of help as the second-seeded Spurs set a date opposite top-seeded Golden State. "I take responsibility for it".
"Obviously he had a tough game, but to me it's a joke to get on him because we're not where we are. without James", Morey said. "Now we move forward".
Instead, things went wrong early for the Rockets with Aldridge scoring 10 points in the first quarter as San Antonio dashed out to a 31-24. The Rockets had been 3-0 against San Antonio in postseason series, winning in the first round in 1980, the conference semifinals in 1981, and the conference finals in 1995.
The truth is, as good as Harden was all season, he will likely be remembered by what happened against the Spurs Thursday.
Gasol on the lopsided win: "No one expected a Game 6. win like this, but we just played hard".
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