SAN ANTONIO – End of 3rd quarter update: Spurs trail Rockets 96-67. San Antonio's defense played better and Houston started missing some open shots, but the Spurs could not cut much into a 30-point halftime deficit. Kawhi Leonard has 21 points.
End of 2nd quarter update: Spurs trail Rockets big 69-39. Houston made 12 3-pointers in half. Spurs have struggled all night on offense. Kawhi had 12 points, but only 2 in the second quarter. Shocking half.
End of 1st quarter update: Spurs trail Rockets 34-23. San Antonio shot 45 percent from the floor while Houston came out on fire, shooting 57 percent in the quarter. Kawhi Leonard has 10 points, but the Spurs are having trouble stopping Houston's 3-point shooting. Still a long way to go.
ORIGINAL PREVIEW STORY:
When the San Antonio Spurs take on the Houston Rockets in the semfinals of the Western Conference playoffs, it will make for an intriguing series.
For starters it will be the first time these two teams have met in the postseason since the 1995 Western Conference Finals.
That series was highlighted by the David Robinson-Hakeem Olajuwon matchhup. The Rockets won the series in 6.
That series was so long ago it doesn't have much of a tie to this years matchup, nor does it supply much of conversation among players.
What makes it even maybe more fascinating these two teams never met in the playoffs during Tim Duncan era.
The major attractioin, the matchup between two MVP candidates, Kawhi Leonard and James Harden.
Harden averaged 29 points a game during the regular season and 33 in the first round against OKC. Leonard averaged 28 points against the Rockets.
The Spurs know they are not going to stop Harden, but they will try to slow him down.
"It will take my all to try to make it difficult for him out there , he's a great scorer," said Leonard.
Eventhough it is two of the top players in the league matched up in a playoff series, Leonard just want's to keep it simple.
"I'm just trying to win that's all I want to bring out of this series is my team on top coming out with a victory," Leonard said.
Tony Parker said given the way the Rockets play, Leonard should have more opportunities to have a bigger impact at the offensive end.
"I think in this series he is going to have more opportunities offensively," said Parker.
It all depends on how they try to guard him, but given the different style of teams, things should open up a little more for Leonard.
The series will be so much different for the Spurs than their six games winning series over Memphis, especially for the Spurs defense.
The Rockets like to shoot from the perimeter, you could see them fire up as many as 40 three's in a game. They also average 115 points.
The Grizzlies just wanted to grind their apponants.
"We know that transition defense is a big key in this series," said Tony Parker.
Parker had a great opening playoff series, scoring in double figures in 5 out of the 6 games. and it looking forward to keeping that momentum going in round two.
"I just do whatever Pop wants," Parker said.