There was something about the AT&T Center that made the members of the Houston Rockets smile on the bench on Monday night.
The Rockets ‘run and gun’ style and sizzling offense proved too much for the San Antonio Spurs, who fell 126-99 in Game 1 of their Western Conference Semifinals series.
Kawhi Leonard led the way for the Spurs with 23 points on 5-of-14 shooting. Tony Parker added 11 points and Jonathon Simmons chipped in 10 for the Spurs, who suffered their worst home playoff loss in franchise history.
San Antonio’s only lead of the game came less than a minute in – a Leonard jumper. The Rockets controlled the pace from the opening tip and used their red hot offense to put the Silver and Black away early.
”They came out hot tonight and we just have to do a better job defensively,” Leonard said. ”We kind of got stagnant there a little bit. I give my hats to them, they played a great game.”
LaMarcus Aldridge had the worst playoff game of his career, scoring a playoff career low four points. Aldridge will need to help Leonard in the scoring column if the Spurs want any chance of beating Houston in the series, and he knows it.
”I just have to take my time,” Aldridge said. ”I have to ask for the ball more for sure. And when I get it take my time. Tonight I was trying to rush because there were so many mismatches on me. Normally I take my time. Tonight I was in a rush.”
The Rockets were led by Trevor Ariza’s 23 points. James Harden added 20 points and 14 assists, while center Clint Capela had a double-double with 20 points and 13 rebounds.
Houston hit a franchise record 22 3-pointers in the game compared to San Antonio’s nine.
They made most of their shots,” Aldridge said. “Guys competed, but I thought we made mistakes early. They took advantage of it. Once they had offensive rhythm they were rolling. And we never really found ours.”
It is only one game, but if Monday night is any sign – the Spurs need to find their offense. If not, the series will be over quickly.
Player of the Game:
Clint Capela is Project Spurs’ Player of the Game. His double-double provided additional scoring to help relieve the load off of Harden. He was effective in stopping Aldridge, David Lee, and Pau Gasol from getting anything easy.
Up next: The Spurs trail the best-of-seven series 0-1 and will look to even things up when they meet the Rockets for Game 2 at the AT&T Center on Wednesday night.