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   Harden dictated the pace of the game Paul Molitor Jersey [03/05/17 04:22PM]   
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James Harden had more support in Game 1 than Kawhi Leonard from the other starters. These Rockets are a joy to watch with Harden -- one of the best scorers of his generation, who emerged as the league's premier facilitator in his maiden voyage as a point guard -- in complete control. "Game 1 is good for us," James Harden said without a hint of a smile, "but we've got to get greedy." SAN ANTONIO -- The Beard, well aware that one blowout win does not a series make, was all business after the Houston Rockets Josh Harrison Authentic Jersey roared to a 126-99 road rout over the San Antonio Spurs to open the Western Conference semifinals on Monday night. Harden meant, of course, that the Rockets can't be satisfied by simply getting a split on the road against the favored Spurs. In that case, greed is a good thing. But a selfless style, exemplified by Harden, has put the Rockets in position to make an extended playoff run. These Rockets are a stark contrast from last season's chemistry catastrophe, a team that was a miserable .500 mess before getting booted by the Golden State Warriors in a first-round gentleman's sweep. Some significant tinkering by general manager Daryl Morey has resulted in a Rockets roster full of players who complement Harden and embrace their roles. The hiring of offensive mastermind coach Mike D'Antoni, who convinced Harden to become a full-time point guard, made a great player even better. "That's not going to change," said Harden, who finished with 20 points to go along with those 14 dimes in 31 minutes. "Our pace is always going to be there. It's my job to make sure the ball gets past half court and guys are in attack mode, guys are getting shots." Consider the first quarter on Monday, when the Rockets built a double-digit lead that the Spurs never threatened. Harden completely dominated the quarter without even seeming to break a sweat, scoring 11 points on only four shots from the floor, while dishing out five assists and allowing forwards Trevor Ariza and Ryan Anderson and young big man Clint Capela to get in a rhythm after those role players struggled offensively in the previous series. Time and time again throughout the night, Harden made the smart, simple pass to get teammates open looks and easy buckets, racking up 14 assists before resting for the entire fourth quarter. He dictated the pace of the game, sometimes without dribbling much, delivering savvy advance passes to teammates streaking up the floor in transition. It just so happened that the three Houston starters who stunk offensively in the five-game series against the Oklahoma City Thunder stung the Spurs. Ariza, fresh off of going 3-of-16 from 3-point range in the previous series, scored a game-high 23 points on Monday and nailed half of his 10 3-point tries, four coming off feeds from Harden. After going 3-of-24 on 3s in the first round, Anderson was 4-of-10 from deep in Game 1, with Harden assisting on half of the makes. That http://www.officialpiratesproshop.com/Kent_Tekulve_Jersey opened the floor for Capela, who scored a playoff career-high 17 points on 8 of 10 shooting, with six assists from Harden, highlighted by a beautiful, between-the-legs bounce pass for a dunk on a pick-and-roll. It wasn't necessarily the Rockets' game plan to get those role players going. It was just a matter of Harden reacting to the Spurs' uncharacteristically sloppy defense. "We don't run plays for people," D'Antoni said. "Maybe if there is a timeout sometimes, but they are getting what the offense produces, and James is the producer in the sense that he reads it. If it's Clint, if it's Trevor, if it's Ryan, if it's Pat [Beverley], he just picks out what he thinks is the right guy. On a given day, different guys will step up. If we share the ball, then we have no problems." D’Antoni's system certainly helps, as it did during Steve Nash's heyday with the Phoenix Suns. But it takes a terrific conductor and complementary pieces to make the system run smoothly, as proved by D'Antoni's unsuccessful stints with the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers. Skip Bayless reacted to the Spurs' loss on Tuesday's episode of Undisputed, and said that San Antonio is already facing a do-or-die situation in Game 2. I still believe they will climb back into this series slowly but surely and eventually pull this out, but I thought it would be in six games and when you lose at home that badly in Game 1, it’s probably now going to take seven long, hard games.” This series looks like it could go seven games This series looks like it could go seven games “I believe they’re in a whole lot of trouble. In Game 1, at home, they just dug themselves a very deep hole both series-wise and psychologically - because they just re-created a three-point shooting monster in the Houston Rockets. That was the No. 1 ranked defense in the NBA on display last night, and it got absolutely shredded from the opening tip by James Harden and his three-point shooting snipers. I have never seen James Harden play a better floor game - for that matter, I have never seen the Houston Rockets play a better defensive game, which I did not see coming. “I’ve been watching this Spurs team, I’ve been a fan since the middle 1970s http://www.officialmarlinstore.com, so I’ve watched a whole lot of Spurs playoff basketball. I’ve seen them lose like this before, but I have never seen them play so poorly on the defensive end as they did last night. I thought Gregg Popovich saw what was readily apparent on TV. About a minute and 20 seconds into the game he called his first timeout, reamed out David Lee, but he was actually trying to ream out his whole team. He just picked one of the veterans he knew he could get away with screaming at. And he was basically saying ‘are you guys going to wake up or not?’ Because I have never seen my Spurs play so lifelessly on the defensive end.” The Rockets, in all five games against the Oklahoma City Thunder, shot 28 percent from three. San Antonio took Houston lightly San Antonio took Houston lightly “They beat the Houston Rockets three out of four times, and in those four games the Rockets shot 29 percent from three. So, what did I think just happened last night? I think that, against Memphis, they ground out a six-game series. I think they were really proud of themselves for winning a physical, highly skilled matchup against the very tough Memphis Grizzlies… and they thought the Rockets were going to be a walk in the park.” Gregg Popovich tried, but he couldn't spark his team Gregg Popovich tried, but he couldn't spark his team “There was no intensity, there was no urgency, there was no energy - and it never came back. He called timeout after timeout, and not once could he jumpstart the team and get them to kick it into defensive mode as they did in the second half http://www.officialbluejaysproshop.com/Paul_Molitor_Jersey of some of those Memphis Grizzlies games. In the end, bottom line, I think the Spurs were blindsided by a red-hot shooting three-point team that is now feeling really good about itself going into Game 2 - which will be do-or-die for my Spurs. And it’s going to be very difficult for [San Antoniio] to win. I think they’ll survive it, but it will go to the bitter end.” I think, bottom line, the Spurs came out last night and said ‘we got this, no sweat.’ And before they even broke a sweat, the game was over. Because the same Houston Rockets who could not hit the broad side of an Oklahoma City barn from the three-point line made 22-of-50 last night.” If the Rockets keep shooting like this, they'll be unstoppable If the Rockets keep shooting like this, they'll be unstoppable All season long, Harden has seized the opportunity, leading the league in assists, building a legitimate MVP case and elevating the Rockets to surprise contender status. "That's why he's so great, because he's not out there holding the ball in his hands the whole time, shooting 20 shots in the first quarter," Anderson said. "He's a guy that wants to feel the rhythm of the game, feel the flow of the game, make the right play.A lot of times, teams focus on him, so he knows if he passes the ball off, he’s going to get a wide-open shot for somebody else. "His court vision is unbelievable. He's so much more than just a scorer. He's proven that all season. I know that we all really love playing with each other. He loves playing with this group of guys. That's helps too, when you trust the guy next Marcus Stroman Authentic Jersey to you." “If they make 22-of-50 going forward, they’re going to win the NBA championship, because you can’t beat that. They outscored the Spurs from the three-point line by 39 points and won the game by 26 points.



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