The basketball world was shocked when the San Antonio Spurs looked un-Spurs like in their Game 1 loss to the Houston Rockets on Monday night. However, 48 hours later – things have returned to normal..sort of.
Kawhi Leonard scored 34 points as he led the Spurs to a 121-96 win over the Rockets in Game 2 of their Western Conference Semifinals series at the AT&T Center on Wednesday night, evening their best-of-seven series.
Tony Parker added 18 points and LaMarcus Aldridge bounced back from his career worst playoff performance to post 15 points and 8 rebounds. Danny Green added 12 for San Antonio, who held Houston to under 100 points.
After the Rockets shot 22 3-pointers on Monday, they were held to just 11 in Game 2. Rockets forward Trevor Ariza struggled to score from the outside, shooting 1-for-5 and scoring just two points.
”I think we were able to get a feel for them in the first game,” Leonard said. ”Just trying to contest all shots, limit them to one possession, don’t let them rebound the basketball on the offensive end and just get them off the 3-point line.”
The victory was dampened by a knee injury to Parker in the fourth quarter. The injury occurred with under nine minutes to go in the game when the 34-year-old shot a teardrop over Houston point guard Patrick Beverley. Parker landed wrong without contact and quickly grabbed his left knee and was carried off the court by teammates.
The Spurs said Parker will undergo an MRI on Thursday and more details will be released. However, from the sounds of it – it is not expected to be good news.
“Its not good,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.
Teammate Manu Ginobili also commented the team would be without Parker “for awhile.”
Houston was led by Ryan Anderson’s 18 points. Clint Capela added 14 points for the Rockets.
James Harden was held to 13 points on 3-of-17 shooting and was mostly guarded by Leonard the majority of the game.
”I just missed shots,” Harden said postgame.
Player of the Game:
Kawhi Leonard is Project Spurs’ Player of the Game. He led the team in points, but also dished out eight assists. His aggressive play and passing the ball to the open man was key in the Spurs win to even the series.
Up next: The best-of-seven series is even 1-1 and the Spurs will look to take the lead when they take on the Rockets in Game 3 on Friday at 8:30 p.m. inside the Toyota Center.