San Antonio and Houston can still salvage the second round.
Their series, just like the other three in the NBA’s conference semifinals, hasn’t provided much in the way of must-see moments. No need to stay up late for a frantic finish when the outcomes are decided so early.
But the Spurs and Rockets did play four tight games in the regular season, with three decided by two-point margins. So perhaps there’s still drama ahead, starting on Tuesday in Game Five in San Antonio with the teams tied 2-2.
Often the pivotal game in a best-of-seven series, maybe it’s the one to bring out the best in both teams at the same time. For some reason, it hasn’t happened in Texas—or really anywhere else in May.
“I wish I was that smart and I could figure that out,” Rockets Coach Mike D’Antoni said. “I don’t know. We made shots, don’t make shots. I guess when both teams start making shots you’ll get it close.”
It’s been blowout basketball all over the second round, where Cleveland didn’t even trail in the fourth quarter against Toronto until it was in the midst of finishing a sweep Sunday with a 109-102 victory. That was the first game of the entire round decided by single digits—even the overtime game between Boston and Washington in Game Two of their series ended with a 10-point victory for the Celtics.
The games have been so noncompetitive down the stretch that the National Basketball Association hasn’t needed to generate a Last 2 Minutes report for any game except that one in Boston. During the postseason, the league issues the officiating reviews for all games within three points at any stage in the last two minutes of the fourth quarter, or the last two minutes of any overtime period.
The starters have largely been on the bench and the fans on the way to their cars by late in the fourth quarter.
This series has featured Houston victories by 27 and 21, while the Spurs took the two games in between by 25 and 11. That’s nothing like the type of basketball they played against each other during the season series, when the Spurs outscored the Rockets by an average of 104.8-102.8 while winning by six, two and two.
“I mean, it’s crazy. I’ve never seen nothing like that,” Rockets guard Eric Gordon said. “It’s all about tempo. When you slow the game down, it almost kind of favors them. And when you play fast, it favors us. I think now we have kind of really figured out what needs to happen and what we need to do to win.”
The Spurs bounced back fine after getting clobbered in the opener and will try to do so again following Houston’s 125-104 victory on Sunday.
Image credits: AP