Harden, Rockets rout Spurs 125-104 to tie series

Addressing potential adjustments and changes for the San Antonio Spurs in their upcoming Game 5 against the Houston Rockets. They slowed it down, turned it to hustle, who-want-it-more type of a game and executed through their two stars. In this critical Game 5, it will be interesting to see if that trend continues, or if we finally see the first close game of this series. Kawhi Leonard can not be expected to guard every shooter and provide a majority of the Spurs offense, so the rest of the team will need to communicate in order to slow down the Rockets.

Despite his old-school game, Nene played a role in that offense. It was a simple transition play, yes, but the precision can tell us volumes.

It's tough to predict what's going to happen in Rockets games because they blow the doors off when those outside shots are falling and get blown out when those outside shots are rimming out.

National Basketball Association fans, who subscribe to cable, can WATCH THE SPURS VS. ROCKETS ONLINE HERE here for free via TNT's live stream, after inputting your information. 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. Because of how much pick-and-roll the Rockets run with Harden, Gasol will inevitably be switched on to him (or other Houston guards) on a consistent basis. Despite winning Game 4 handily, the loss of Nene significantly cuts into their depth at the center position.

"Obviously we made shots which made it a lot easier, but I think energy was up the entire game now matter what", Harden said. Whether he's shooting them or assisting them, he is the engine to this D'Antoni offense.

Regardless, the lineup worked relatively well for the Rockets. San Antonio out-rebounded Houston 49-39 and were excellent on defense, despite not stopping Harden this time.

Kawhi Leonard has averaged 30 points per game in the Spurs' two wins in this series and 18.5 points per game in the team's two losses.

In the third quarter, the Rockets' lineup with Anderson at center was a +1, and the team hit eight three-pointers in that quarter.

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A possible (and likely) solution is going incredibly small. They're playing with an edge. Nene was a high energy force for the Rockets with 10 points per game in the playoffs and almost five boards.

In the playoffs, the Rockets have a 97.4 defensive rating in the 161 minutes that Nene has been on the floor.

In Games 2 and 3, the Rockets didn't make enough attempts to isolate bigs on James Harden (or players like Lou Williams and Eric Gordon).

Do they still have a chance against the Rockets?

In Game 4 the Rockets lost veteran big man Nene to a muscle tear in his thigh. Ryan Anderson could also be getting more playing time, someone D'Antoni used at times.

The Rockets shot 52.6 percent overall (50/95) and 44.2 percent (19/43) from long distance.

In falling by 21 points in Game 4, San Antonio - for the first time since the 2001 Western Conference finals against the Lakers - has dropped multiple games by 20 points or more in a single postseason series.

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