2017 NBA Playoffs: Even without Kawhi Leonard, Spurs rout, eliminate Rockets

Here’s what happened on day 25 of the 2017 NBA Playoffs:

SAS 114 – HOU 75, SAS advance in six games

Shortly before the game, the Spurs announced that Kawhi Leonard would not be playing, due to a sprained ankle.

It turned out it didn’t matter.

The San Antonio Spurs led 31-24 after the first quarter, and never looked back after that, against an out-of-sorts Houston Rockets side.

James Harden didn’t make his first field goal until the 6:19 mark of the second period, hitting a triple that made it an 18-point game, 50-32, in favor of the visiting Spurs. San Antonio led by as much as 22 points, but settled for a 19-point buffer entering the break, 61-42, after Patrick Beverley nailed a triple to send teams into the intermission.

The Rockets simply had no response to the Spurs’ offense. Rookie Dejounte Murray gave the Spurs a 30-point lead, 94-64, less than three minutes into the fourth period. It reached as high as 42 points, 114-72, before the Houston scored the last bucket of the game.

LaMarcus Aldridge had a big outing against the Nene-less Houston Rockets, exploding for 34 points on 16-of-26 shooting, with 12 rebounds. Jonathon Simmons, starting in place of Leonard, had 18 on 8-of-12 shooting, plus four assists. Patty Mills chipped in 14 and dished out seven dimes.

Trevor Ariza led Houston with 20 points. Clint Capela had a double-double of 15 markers and 12 boards, but he was 3-of-11 from the field.

James Harden finished with 10 points, shooting 2-of-11 from the field. He fouled out late in the game, contributing seven assists, versus six turnovers.

The Spurs will now move on to the Western Conference Finals, where the Golden State Warriors await.

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

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