Sunglasses & Advil:
"Manu reached back and gave us one of his Manu performances from past years. He was a stud." - Gregg Popovich.
24 hours ago, if you told me that Manu Ginobili, in the year 2017, would make a game-saving defensive block in overtime of a crucial Game 5, I'd look at you funny. This is comically fitting, for the San Antonio Spurs make all doubters look look silly. Lesson learned
for the 827th time: don't doubt the Spurs until it's time to doubt the Spurs. It's not time now (is it ever?).
Game 5 was a back-and-forth affair, but no one really cares about the first three quarters. Things really got crazy in the fourth. Kawhi Leonard injured his ankle, and this inability to return hit the Spurs hard. Down the stretch, Coach Pop usually goes to either Tony Parker or Leonard to run the offense. With neither available, he did his best patchwork with Patty Mills and Ginobili. It worked?
James Harden had a tremendous stat sheet game (a triple-double), but his performance late in the fourth and in OT fell short. There was a stretch in overtime where he committed three straight turnovers with nine total for the night. The Rockets received good contributions from Ryan Anderson (the back-up center now that Nene is out for the season) and Patrick Beverely, but they couldn't outscore San Antonio through all of their early miscues in the extra session.
Overtime was weird. After Patty Mills took way too long to execute the final possession in regulation (resulting in a made 3-pointer that came way after the buzzer), the overtime period started off ugly. It was a competition to see who could amass the most missed shots and turnovers . . . until everything flipped. The teams went from competing for misses to participating in an epic shootout that included the resurgence of 2013
Finals MVP Danny Green. In the end, it was San Antonio who out-executed (imagine that) the Rockets, and they're taking a 3-2 series lead because of it.
Kawhi Leonard (ankle) said he will play.
The Spurs lead the Rockets 3-2. Nene did not play (groin).
When the Sun falls, then the Moonlight:
Over or under 5 technical fouls total for Game 5 tonight? The Boston Celtics and the Washington Wizards have engaged in mortal combat for four games up to this point, and the home game has won each contest. The series is tied 2-2, but the Wizards have actually led for a huge chunk of the total play time. In the first two games, the Celtics out-executed them late in the game, but in the next two games, the Wizards blew them out so bad that there wasn't a chance for late-game out-execution. Which trends will carry over into a monumental Game 5? The winner of the fifth game in a best-of-seven series that's tied 2-2 has gone on to win 83% of the time (162-34) historically. Safe to say this is a big game.
Boston sees this as a must-win considering the way the Celtics played on the road. This is a must-win for the Wizards considering the way the Wizards have played in Boston in crunch time. Look to see how the Celtics adjust how Isaiah Thomas attacks double teams when coming off of pick-and-rolls. The Celtics' role players played poorly in Games 4 and 5, so watch for a bounce back game. For the Wizards, look to see if their bench sustains their level of play from the last two games. John Wall is a man among men, so look for that to continue. Also, keep an eye out for any more of those 26-0 runs. Tonight should be a good one in Boston.
Kelly Oubre (suspension) is available for Game 5.
WAS @ BOS | 8:00 PM ET on TNT | The series is tied at 2-2.
Lines of the Night:
Kawhi Leonard: 22 points (8-for-21) | 15 rebounds | 4 assists | W
Danny Green: 16 points (5-for-11) | 5 rebounds | 3 assists | W
Manu Ginobili: 12 points (5-for-11) | 7 rebounds | 5 assists | 1 block | W
Ryan Anderson: 19 points (7-for-11) | 7 rebounds | L
James Harden: 33 points (11-for-24) | 10 rebounds | 10 assists | L