Rockets' 22 3-pointers dismantle Spurs, 126-99 in Game 1


Coach Popovich criticized the Spurs Game 1 shot selection and Leonard's needs to lead the charge if San Antonio wants to avoid an upset against the Rockets. They're a well-assembled group of veterans looking to make some history of their own against a franchise that's experienced phenomenal success in the 20-plus years since Hakeem Olajuwon dream-shook MVP David Robinson into defeat en route to the franchise's second championship. "More fake news. It's everywhere". And that one isn't exactly as rare as a unicorn sighting anymore. However, I never take any team in any sport just because it is a must-win game. By the time the fourth came around, the Houston Rockets had 94 points on 44% shooting from three point range. The Spurs will play better in Game 2.

It's happened 10 times this season, the Rockets posting nine of those.

The Cavs clobbered the Raptors 115-85 in last year's Game 1, but the Raptors had just one day to prepare after their seven-game series with Miami, and Casey talked about how they'd been "ambushed" in that game. However, the Thunder made the necessary adjustments going into Game 2. "It's been this way for a while".

Houston has made 15 threes en route to a 96-67 lead after three quarters, and though it's always possible that the Spurs pull off what would be the biggest fourth quarter comeback win in the history of the National Basketball Association playoffs (I have not researched this, but come on, it's 29 points!) it seems much more likely that the Rockets will take game 1 in commanding fashion. The Houston Rockets are averaging 115 points on 45.7 percent shooting and allowing 103.3 points on 43 percent shooting.

Is it possible to play Pau more than 15 minutes a game?

"They could do it another four or five or six years".

There's no end in sight, either.

NEED TO KNOW: The Rockets' rout in Game 1 was nothing like the season series between the Texas teams and Southwest Division rivals. With the ball in his hands, Harden presents defenses with an unpleasant set of binary situations.

Clearly, that's the thinking just about everywhere these days. Maybe that's why coach Dwane Casey was so easily able to downplay it Tuesday. If I was to guess, I would think that Pop would first try Dewayne Dedmon in the starting lineup before resorting to small ball, but I'd be happy with either.

1. Roger Goodell Nothing to do with Spurs-Rockets - I mean, what else is left to say? - so I will use this space to remind everyone that Roger Goodell is a bad booger wiper of a human being. Dekker averaged 6.8 points in four games against the Spurs this season.

The oddity isn't so odd anymore. Gregg Popovich closed games with Parker and Mills playing together, a two-man group that only played 24 minutes together at the same time during the regular season. The Spurs will close out on 3s and make the Rockets earn their points by going to the basket. More importantly, his contesting of shots when the game was still in reach for the Spurs was an element that we didn't see in the first round from him. "If they're not, we drive it".

With shooters spacing out to the 3-point line on the break, there is no hope of stopping any big running down the middle of the lane.

It's not just Houston that's 3-happy. His quiet 19 points Monday were more than eight under his regular-season average, and probably well below what the Raptors need to have a shot in the series.

KEEP AN EYE ON: The 3-point line.

It is likely that the Rockets will not make 22 three-pointers in Game 2.

Season series: Spurs, 3-1. And D'Antoni, in the interim decade, has grown his grudge like the Count of Monte Cristo, toiling in National Basketball Association mediocrity with high-profile but low-success jobs with the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers, working in vain with broken cultures and players past their physical primes.