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Published: Tue, May 09, 2017
Entertainment | By Johnnie Parsons

Rockets level series against Spurs, Cavs advance

Rockets level series against Spurs, Cavs advance

The Spurs hung tough for a half, but the Houston Rockets took control of the game in the third quarter and rolled to a 125-104 victory Sunday night at the Toyota Center, tying the Western Conference semifinal series 2-2. And in the physical war of attrition this brutal series has become, it's also 1-1.

The Rockets lost Nene to injury early in their Game 4 win over the Spurs.

Nene, a 15-year veteran in his first season with the Rockets, averaged 10 points and 4.7 rebounds in nine postseason games this year.

Houston started off the game on a 12-4 run and extended the lead to 15 points with 4:01 left in the opening quarter on a steal and dunk in transition from Nene. The Spurs are 2nd in the playoffs in regard to offensive efficiency, averaging 114 points per 100 possessions.

San Antonio's two most-used lineups - the starters, with Dejounte Murray at point guard, and another group that includes the starters with Patty Mills at the point - in this game allowed the Rockets to shoot 9-of-16 from range in 17 minutes. Dekker had 10 points and seven rebounds in that December game and played in the first half on Sunday after Nene went out. The Spurs' own superstar, Kawhi Leonard, didn't exactly play poorly, but he seemed to spend more time getting stonewalled by double teams than doing damage off the dribble.

That's why Game 5 of the best-of-seven series, set for Tuesday at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, is so crucial.

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"Then, offensively ... we have to have the discipline to move them around and get their bigs to be at a disadvantage and get them away from the rim and move them, and we'll get layups and 3s". I'm going to keep my faith and, of course, I'm going to be there for my family.

"I hate it for Nene", coach Mike D'Antoni said. "I'm nearly shooting 50% from regular field (specifically, 48.8%) and three-point (50% exactly), so I've just got to take more shots".

He is expected to have surgery to fix the quad soon and I certainly hope he doesn't have to retire but it's long road ahead to recovery from an injury like this. Ryan Anderson had 13 points, plus a 3rd quarter buzzer beater. Opponents have to hope they miss shots if they want to stop them.

Leonard hit 7 of 14 shots and Aldridge made 7 of 13 Sunday night. (Friday in Game 3) we did not do that.

Harden shot 10-of-18 from the floor and dished out 12 assists with five rebounds for Houston, which rebounded from consecutive losses after winning Game 1 in the series. We got to do the little things and we can't take anything for granted. It's just tough. I have to be there for my grandmother. "If not, get off the ball and have someone else make a play", said the guard, via ESPN.

After scoring 19 points combined in the first two games, Aldridge finally showed up and it helped propel San Antonio to a huge road victory. His point guard had come under scrutiny from fans who said his best days were behind him, but Popovich marveled at how the soft-spoken Parker's leadership had "increased exponentially" in their first season together without Duncan.

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