Spurs face quick turnaround before conference finals

San Antonio did drop the first game of the round to Houston, suffering a 126-99 loss, but their trail in the series would be short-lived.

The Spurs claimed the best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal in six games by blitzing the Rockets despite the absence of Tony Parker (torn left quadriceps) and Kawhi Leonard (sore left ankle). They outclassed their opponent in another elimination game, advancing to their 10th Western Conference Finals under Gregg Popovich. We got five, six days of rest. In 11 games during these playoffs, Leonard is averaging 27.8 points (on 52.4 percent shooting), 7.7 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game.

Asked if Harden was injured, D'Antoni said, "He's been battling that cold, but nothing I know of".

San Antonio took an early 2-0 lead in the series, blowing out the Grizzlies 111-82 in Game 1, and defeating them a second time in Game 2.

"It's frustrating", Harden said of the loss.

"Everything falls on my shoulder", he said. I take responsibility for both ends of the floor.

Everything worked. In a a postseason where almost every game has been a blow out, the Spurs blew out the Rockets so bad that the other blowouts looked close.

But, even if they Holiday is signed, there is no guarantee they will make a huge move forward in the deep Western Conference.

"I feel so sorry for him because he's had an unbelievable - he's had an historic year", coach Mike D'Antoni said.

Celtics blow out Wizards 123-101
Photo: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports Top PerformersWashington Wizards guard John Wall (2) reacted to a call during the game. Twice in the fourth quarter he rose up from behind the three-point line with ample space between him and the nearest defender.

"It could, "he said. Last night will be the topic of conversation for a few days, but I think outside of that, once people continue to talk they understand the amount of work that he put into the season, the history that he created, the position that he put us all in to be successful, so those are the things that I think about". Sometimes when you're missing your quote-unquote best player, I don't know if "fear" is the right word, but you can see a little bit of uncertainness. "No matter what it was, we just didn't have it tonight". The Spurs, who used the streak to build an 18-point edge, shot 5-of-6 during that span. San Antonio won 114-75.

It was a superb piece of athleticism from the 39-year-old Argentinian, which gives the Spurs a precious lead as the series heads to Houston for Game 6 today. He didn't take his first shot until halfway through the second quarter; by then, Houston was already trailing by 21. "The challenges they present, in some ways, are similar to Houston as far as the ability to shoot the ball from the 3-point line, but they have different personnel overall".

The Rockets shot 28.6 percent from the field.

The third quarter continued with the Spurs playing dominant defense and excellent offense.

Added D'Antoni, "One game can't erase nine months of work". Dekker had six points.

"They did a really good job of crowding and showing bodies, their bigs at the rim", Harden said of his lack of verve.

"It's tough. Especially the way we lost at home.it happened".

Having Leonard back for Game 1 against the Warriors on Sunday would obviously be important for San Antonio. The response, in a word, is heartening.