Spurs rout Rockets to win West semifinal series

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton left and General Manager Rob Pelinka watch prospects participate in the NBA draft basketball combine Friday

In big games he has not always delivered for his team, and, at any rate, Thursday was no different.

Considering the Silver and Black were already without veteran point guard Tony Parker and Leonard was a late scratch, the lopsided victory - on the road, to boot - has to rank as one of the greatest in the franchise's storied playoff history.

In the first quarter, the Spurs outscored the Rockets 31-24. "They played well at the offensive end with a lot of sense and defensively it was one of our best nights".

Harden chose to credit the Spurs when he was asked if he considered being more assertive to shake his funk. LaMarcus Aldridge stepped up and provided the team with 10 points in the first quarter.

Simmons had 18 points and four assists, and he more than held his own against an MVP candidate. Dekker has another year on his rookie deal before the Rockets have to decide if they want to exercise a club option on him come the 2018 offseason.

Harden succinctly summed up the state of things postgame - "They just dominated", he said - but that only goes so far. He had four turnovers by midway through the second. In Game 6 Anderson was 0-of-6 from the floor with 0 points, and Aldridge spent long stretches of the night looking like a young Olajuwon next to the Houston big men. Harden didn't throw passes that seemingly broke physics, but he routinely threw ones that broke conventionality. When things aren't going your way on offense, teams need to pick things up on the defensive end, but the Rockets weren't doing that, either. "He's really turned it on and demanded the ball". Houston couldn't score, and instead of trying a last ditch takeover and attempting to overwhelm San Antonio's tactically sound defense with his sheer talent, he deferred. Back-to-back threes gave the crowd a little more energy, though. After the Rockets failed to reach 100 points only five times in the entire regular season, the Spurs kept them below the century mark three times, ending with the stifling 79 in the clincher.

Rockets: Ariza received a technical in the third for the scuffle with Ariza.

The Spurs were a dominant force for the entirety of the season, but after Game 1 it truly looked like the Rockets would challenge them in a long series.

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"Everybody contributed. It was a real team effort with (32) assists and just (seven) turnovers".

Most people outside the organization aren't feeling sorry for the point guard, and were left scratching their heads at how such an elite player could perform so poorly in a game that mattered so much. Aldridge looked bad in Game 1, and he was virtually unstoppable in Game 6.

The game was never really close, and the way Houston ended their season had to be disappointing for Rockets fans considering how incredible they were to watch over the course of the year.

James Harden had perhaps the worst game he has ever played in a Rockets uniform during Game 6 on Thursday.

"We scored 75", D'Antoni groused.

Harden said the Rockets did not take the Spurs lightly even though San Antonio were without Leonard due to an ankle injury. Those will kick off on Sunday, May 14.

The other National Basketball Association semis features the Cleveland Cavaliers against either the Boston Celtics or the Washington Wizards.

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