San Antonio Spurs guard and MVP candidate Kawhi Leonard did not play last night in game six as his team took on the Houston Rockets. He sustained an ankle injury late in game five and was unable to return for game six. This did not matter as much as many experts predicted, however.
San Antonio won game five in dramatic fashion with a block from Manu Ginobili on James Harden with under a second left on the clock. Game five, however, did not go the same way. Instead, the Spurs blew out the Houston Rockets and made it look easy. As Houston fans filed out of the Toyota Center, the score sat at 114-74.
LaMarcus Aldridge led the way for the Spurs netting 34 points and 12 rebounds. Johnathon Simmons added 18 points and four assists.
While the Spurs played a great game, it was more of a poor performance from Houston that was the difference maker in this game. Everyone played well for Houston, except their leader in James Harden. Harden finished with 10 points on 2-of-11 shooting. Other players such as Trevor Ariza and Clint Capela played well for the Rockets and showed up like they usually do every night. Harden, however, ceased to exist.
In possibly the biggest game of Harden’s career, he choked. This game will make people seriously reevaluate where he ranks among the NBA stars. He was creeping up to be in the conversation of the top five players in the league. After this performance, a lot will change for Harden.
This might have been this biggest statement win of the playoffs. Not only did the Spurs blow out a very talented Rockets team, they did so without their best player in Leonard.
San Antonio will advance to the Western Conference Finals to take on the heavy favorite Golden State Warriors. This series starts Sunday at 3:30 on ESPN.