Harden, Rockets rout Spurs 125-104 to tie series

Harden, Rockets rout Spurs 125-104 to tie series

Washington Wizards and Houston Rockets powered to vital Game 4 victories on their home courts, levelling their semi-finals series against Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs respectively. Confidence isn't exactly an issue for Uncle Drew, but the Cavs wouldn't mind seeing him improve on the 7-for-20 performance that he's averaged over the last five games.

The Rockets hit 19 of 43 shots from the 3-point line Sunday, falling three short of the franchise-record 22 they nailed in the series opener. The Thunder weren't always able to make the Rockets pay for being smaller, but the Spurs aren't the Thunder.

SAN ANTONIO - Will Tuesday night be the last time the Spurs play at home this season? Pau Gasol made it a two-point game when he scored on the first possession of the third quarter. Lou Williams, who had four points combined in the past two games, had 13 points. Confuse them in pick-and-rolls, get their bigs into pick-and-rolls regardless of if Aldridge is guarding Trevor (Ariza) or whoever the bigs are guarding. "They cut the deficit down. but no matter, what we just stayed with it".

"I've done it through my career", Anderson said. "We've got to make an extra pass".

Spurs star Kawhi Leonard will be Kawhi Leonard. He's making less than $3 million this season but has earned every penny. With Nene on the shelf, the Rockets must now look elsewhere to find the production that he has provided them all of this postseason. Not only does the Rockets' layups-and-3s-only shot selection represent a commitment to the bleeding edge of basketball research, but Houston's 50-3s-a-game approach is so extreme, so aggressively innovative, it feels like it dropped in from outer space. He scored 35 points and Kyrie Irving had 27. I'm going to keep my faith and, of course, I'm going to be there for my family. "I don't know. We made shots, don't make shots". The shots will fall, or they won't.

"Forget it", he said he told himself heading into Game 4. Seriously, at this point I'd just assume put my hands out wide and not move a muscle if I were Aldridge.

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.

"He's a big part of what we do", teammate Harden said of Nene. "(He's) one of the leaders of our team. LaMarcus Aldridge has taken the bumps from the Rockets physicality and hence the reason why Harden hopes the other guys will be ready for the banging.

Having learned on Monday that Nene, by far their most physical big man, would be out, the Rockets seemed prepared to pit their strength against the strength of the Spurs.

"I wish I was that smart and I could figure that out", Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni said. "He was giving me problems". But I'm gonna fight 'em. But this is a time in the playoffs when you have to step up, and obviously my position hasn't changed much. But Harden has been battling a cold virus of some sort ever since sitting out against Phoenix back on April 2, one that left him coughing routinely into his jersey earlier in the series and struggling to keep his wind.

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