Spurs face quick turnaround before conference finals

Houston Rockets center Clint Capela (15) shoots as San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) and guard Patty Mills (8) watch during the first half in Game 6 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series, Thurs.

Yes, Popovich would be that guy, if it is at all possible.

Despite all-league defender Kawhi Leonard, who primarily guarded Harden through the first five games, missing the game with an ankle injury, Harden was extremely passive. Still with a roster dotted with future Hall of Famers, lanky, versatile athletes and great defenders.

2017 could be a different story, however, as the Golden State Warriors will take on the Gregg Popovic-led Spurs in the Western Conference finals. Popovich and Leonard are the rebels. However, the coaching team made a decision to let Leonard completely recover from his injured left ankle so he can be 100 percent ready when their team faces the Golden State Warriors. "We've got to prepare as fast as we can".

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"Now I'm seeing the game differently", Thomas said. Knowing what happened from experience, we gotta get better.

The Celtics lead their second round series 3-2 and can close it out with a win Friday in Washington.

Spurs fans should be ecstatic that this team has been able to make it to the Western Conference Finals (again), especially given their injuries. "I was making passes and we didn't knock down shots".

Here are some of the factors at play at the start...

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Holmes (70) hit his tee shot at No. 17 to within 5 feet and Stanley (72) followed with an even closer strike, to less than 3 feet. The Northern Irishman made the ideal start with a birdie on the first, but the four-time major victor then bogeyed the fifth.

Harden took responsibility for Houston's poor performance in the postgame press conference. They stuck to what they figured would work, the players bought in, and it paid off in Games 5 and 6. "Coach and I briefly saw him after (game six)".

The Rockets now head into the offseason with questions about their superstar, their coach, their GM and even their philosophy as a franchise.

Thomas said one thing that became apparent in watching film from the Celtics' losses in Games 3 and 4 was that he had to adjust his game with three or four defenders guarding him.

Harden averaged just seven free throw attempts per game in the series, almost four fewer than his season average. The Warriors are not unscathed either, with Kevin Durant still susceptible to having that calf strain flare up at inopportune times and head coach Steve Kerr unlikely to be found on the sidelines as he continues to deal with back issues. Aldridge was the linchpin, posting 34 points and 12 rebounds, but he had plenty of help as the Spurs set up a date opposite the Golden State Warriors. And Curry. And Thompson. Pau Gasol paired 10 points with 11 boards for San Antonio. But even without a gimpy Leonard, who was averaging 24 points and 10 rebounds in the series, the Spurs were relentless while receiving contributions from everyone. Simmons played two years in Austin without a call-up. The two teams met twice more during the regular season but that thrashing is bound to be stuck in the minds of every Golden State player when they take the court for this series. In fact, he went so far as to say, "To me, it's a joke to get on him". What a few nights ago was a successful 55-win season with a third-seed and an MVP candidate, now appears in the aftermath of the Game 6 defeat as an abject failure.

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