There was always the chance for a blowout when the San Antonio Spurs decided to sit Kawhi Leonard for Game 6 against the Houston Rockets. We just didn’t expect the Spurs to be the team delivering the thrashing.
Thanks to one of the worst nights of James Harden’s career and a much-needed big game from LaMarcus Aldridge, though, the Spurs eliminated the Rockets from the 2017 NBA playoffs with a 114-75 beatdown.
Aldridge finished with 34 points on 16-for-26 shooting and 12 rebounds, while Jonathon Simmons added 18 points and four assists for San Antonio. Harden went 2-for-11 from the field, scoring 11 points and dishing seven assists in an embarrassing loss that had many questioning his MVP credentials.
The defeat is particularly irksome for Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni, who is now 5-20 in the postseason against Popovich, having lost all five series between the two.
Leonard missed Game 6 due to an ankle injury he suffered in the second half of San Antonio’s overtime Game 5 victory, as the Spurs had the luxury of a potential Game 7 at home on Sunday if they lost on Thursday night.
Instead, San Antonio will tip off the Western Conference finals against the Golden State Warriors, who swept their second-round series against the Utah Jazz, on Sunday in Oakland.