May 9, 2017, 9:00 pm
It took a while, but the 2017 NBA Playoffs have officially arrived. The Spurs and Rockets played arguably the best game of the postseason on Tuesday night in a 110-107 thriller. Let’s take a look at the performances in Game 5 between two teams vying to make the Western Conference Finals.
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GRITTY SPURS SURVIVE GAME 5 TO TAKE 3-2 LEAD ON ROCKETS
The Spurs were down by as many as nine in the third quarter but stormed back to take an 86-85 lead heading in to the fourth. Everyone knows that teams who win Game 5 in a 2-2 series go on to win 82% of the time. It’s safe to say both teams put all they had in the final minutes. They did not disappoint.
Kawhi Leonard had an awkward land on the foot of James Harden and showed a noticeable limp in the middle of the third quarter. He only played six minutes in the fourth in a tight game. Leonard came out of the game with 34 seconds left in regulation, missing the final two possessions of the fourth quarter. He did not play in overtime. Leonard finished with 22 points (8-for-21 FGs, 5-for-6 FTs), 15 boards, four assists, two steals, two blocks and one 3-pointer in 38 minutes.
After the game, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said that it was obvious Kawhi would not go anymore. He confirmed that it was an ankle injury. Leonard said he will play in Game 6 on Thursday, but it remains to be seen how many minutes.
Without Leonard, the Spurs went with this lineup:
Patty Mills: 2009 2nd round, pick #55
Manu Ginobili: 1999 2nd round, pick #57
Danny Green: 2009 2nd round, pick #46
Jonathon Simmons: 2012 undrafted free agent
LaMarcus Aldridge: 2006 1st round, pick #2
Aldridge was the only player of the bunch to be drafted in the first round. This is a true testament to the Spurs’ philosophy of playing as a team and incorporating their system.
The unsung hero of the night was none other than good old Manu Ginobili, who shot 5-for-11 from the field for 12 points with seven rebounds, five assists and the game-winning block. He dunked for the first time in what seemed like years, electrifying the Spurs bench. Vintage Ginobili came to play late in the game, as he drove to the hoop to tie the game 101-101. With the Spurs up three on the final possession, Ginobili blocked Harden at the buzzer from behind to seal the big win.
Danny Green (16 points, four 3-pointers) and Patty Mills (20 points, five 3-pointers) came up big with clutch threes to keep the game close and eventually take the lead late. Mills was given a golden opportunity to end the game in regulation, but he ran out of time by double-clutching and banked in his heroic attempt a little too late.
Jonathon Simmons came up big in overtime, keeping Harden 0-for-3 on field goals and forcing three turnovers. He finished the game with 12 points, two boards, two assists and three steals in 32 minutes.
On the losing side, James Harden finished with a triple-double (33-10-10), adding one steal, one block and four 3-pointers in 43 minutes. Harden was 0-for-3 in overtime with three turnovers, which cost the Rockets dearly. He had nine turnovers in the Game 5 loss.
Patrick Beverley put up a solid effort, scoring 20 points (6-for-10 FGs) with four boards, one assist and five 3-pointers in 42 minutes.
Ryan Anderson gave the Rockets perhaps their most clutch basket of the game, hitting a 3-pointer in the corner to put the Rockets up 107-106 with 47 seconds left in overtime. He finished with 19 points (7-for-11 FGs), seven boards, one assist and three 3-pointers in 36 minutes.
On the defensive end, Clint Capela filled in admirably after it was announced that Nene Hilario would miss the rest of the season with a torn adductor muscle. Capela scored nine points with 11 boards, one assist, one steal and three blocks.
The Spurs lead the series 3-2. The teams now travel to Houston for Game 6 on Thursday.
That’ll do it for Wednesday’s Daily Dish, playoff edition! As always, be sure to follow me on Twitter, I’m @RiazD. Don’t forget to follow all of our breaking news and rumors @HoopBallTweets. Happy Hump Day Hoop-Ballers!