San Antonio star Tony Parker undergoes surgery on tendon

San Antonio star Tony Parker undergoes surgery on tendon

Whatever opportunity they created in their Game 1 rout of the San Antonio Spurs earlier this week vanished Saturday (AEDT) at Toyota Center.

This is about the Spurs' flexibility and depth, and Pop's willingness to use it to the fullest. Fair number is Houston -3, giving you plenty of a value to take the underdog with the points, which is always a tempting offer. Lowry did briefly return to the game after the injury, but spent the fourth quarter in the locker room. San Antonio was lucky to keep the Rockets from making them pay for their carelessness after committing 20 turnovers in the Game 3. Instead of treating Game 3 with the sense of urgency of a team with a chance to step on the Spurs' necks while they might have been reeling a bit from the loss of Parker, they performed like a team that knows a Game 4 win here Sunday turns this into a best-of-three series. Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) drives past San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green (14) during the first half in Game 3 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series, Friday, May 5, 2017, in Houston. And Gasol has been a major cog in this plan. Sure, there were open shots that were missed from three point range - they missed 27 of them, so there were misses of ALL types - but numerous clanks were contested by Spur defenders who were spry in navigating the Rockets' high screens and disciplined in staying with end points on Harden's lasers back out to Rocket shooters. And Kawhi Leonard is becoming a bigger, albeit more silent, character.

Houston kept the game close until the end of the third quarter again, as they did in Game 2.

"They retook homecourt advantage", Beverley said.

Spurs rookie Dejounte Murray, right, has had to get used to the Rockets' Pat Beverley guarding him.

On the opposite side of the ball, he's keeping possessions alive, too.

In Game 3 though, the Rockets did not have an answer for its poor shooting.

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Not by coincidence, the Spurs' surge has aligned with LaMarcus Aldridge finding his rhythm as the big man has improved his scoring output from 4 points in the opener, to 15 in Game 2 and 26 in the recent outing. Without Tony Parker, San Antonio is going to need the extra support. "It's different with each team".

But Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni said he knew that "Aldridge sooner or later was gonna go off". They led the entire second half in what has been a trademark Spurs win over the last couple of decades.

You don't go through 82 regular season games, accomplishing all they have - 55 wins, with the most efficiently explosive offense in the league - without establishing an identity.

We've got quality shooters who can do this and it's time to fine-tune an efficient system. But the Spurs have showcased a flexibility they haven't in years past.

The Spurs played without Tony Parker who is out for the remainder of the playoffs with a torn quad. But with the ball in Kawhi Leonard's giant hands and a pliable roster with which Popovich can work, the Spurs have taken back home-court advantage and, perhaps, control of the series. With Harden on the floor and the shooting that surrounds him, this series could flip quickly.

You want to credit Popovich, or blame D'Antoni?

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