Forward Kawhi Leonard claimed as the leading scorer and Spanish center Pau Gasol as a key player in defense of the San Antonio Spurs who easily won 121-96 to the Houston Rockets in the second game of the semifinal The Western Conference.
The victory allows the Spurs to draw 1-1 the best-of-seven series moving to Houston, where on Friday at the Toyota Center, the third game will be played and Sunday the fourth, before returning to San Antonio for a fifth that is already insured.
Unlike what happened in the first game when the Rockets attack was devastating with his shots from outside the perimeter this time Spurs coach Gregg Popovich made the corresponding adjustments in both attack and defense and his great success Was to put Gasol of titular and key man in the interior game.
That was where the key to the Spurs’ victory was to see Gasol impose his dominance within the zone and although he did not have his best scorer inspiration was decisive in defense when he contributed 13 rebounds, including seven defensive ones, and he put four corks.
Leonard this time won the individual duel to Rockets star starter James Harden with 34 points, eight assists and seven rebounds that left him as the undisputed leader of the Spurs’ attack that ended the game with a 55 (48-88 ) Percent success in field shots.
The French midfielder Tony Parker before injuring his left knee in the fourth quarter was also a winning factor with 18 points, four assists and three rebounds.
Parker twisted his left knee in the absence of 8:43 minutes to finish the game and left the field without playing again.
Spurs officials confirmed that tomorrow morning, Thursday morning, they will have MRI to know the extent of the injury.
However, Popovich himself acknowledged at the end of the game that Parker did not look good because of the way he felt and the feeling he had in the injured knee.
Power forward LaMarcus Aldridge reached 15 points with eight rebounds, while reserve guard Jonathon Simmons emerged as a surprise factor and sixth man to get 14 points.
Gasol, who contributed six points, played a 29-minute first-inning playoff lead, scored 3 of 11 field shots, missed all three of his three-pointers and did not make it to the lineup.
The player of Sant Boi also distributed three assists, recovered a ball, did not lose any and only two personal fouls.
Veteran escort Manu Ginobili played 18 minutes as a reserve and scored six points (2-7, 0-3, 2-2), five rebounds and three assists in another great team effort.
Power forward Ryan Anderson with 18 points topped the Rockets’ six-man roster with double-digit numbers, but unlike the first game when they scored 22 three-pointers, this time they scored 11 of 34.
Harden left with just 13 points after missing 14 of 17 field shots, including 7 of 9 3-pointers.
Brazilian pivot Nené Hilario who was fined hours before the game with $ 15,000 for participating in the incident between Harden and Spurs center Dwyane Dedmon in the first game played 18 minutes as a Rockets’ reserve and contributed 10 points.
Hilario scored 4 of 6 field shots and 2 of 4 from the lineup, but had no presence in the indoor game where he was dominated by Gasol, and captured only one rebound, gave an assist and recovered one ball, lost another And committed two personal faults.
The Spurs ended the game with 47 rebounds for 32 of the Rockets who were in the game until the end of the third quarter with 82-78, but in the fourth were swept with a 33-13, which secured the victory Team of San Antonio.