Gary | Wed 10/05/2017 - 20:03 EDT

Leonard's injury gives Rockets hope to tie series

The Rockets will force Game 7

By Eric Uribe

All odds courtesy of BetOnline.

LinesOver/under 214 points: San Antonio Spurs at Houston Rockets (-7)

We're not sure if San Antonio's 110-107 overtime triumph in Game 5 was more thrilling or scary. On one hand, you had superhero performances from the likes of Danny Green, Manu Ginobili, and Patty Mills to go ahead 3-2 this series. Green scored seven of his 16 points in overtime. Ginobili blocked James Harden's game-tying shot. Mills started at point guard — instead of Dejounte Murray — and scored 20 in place of Tony Parker.

On the other hand, the face of the franchise, Kawhi Leonard, went down with an ankle injury. He sat out most of the fourth quarter and all of the overtime period, but said he'd be able to play in Game 6. Regardless, if Leonard isn't at full capacity, the Spurs are at a huge disadvantage.

This was a gutsy win by San Antonio.

However, in a game that featured 14 lead changes and six ties, it's hard to believe Houston gave this one away. Harden stuffed the box score with a triple-double off 33 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 dishes, but he and the Rockets faltered down the stretch against a Leonard-less Spurs team. 

Harden turned the ball over nine times — three of them coming in overtime, which isn't out of the ordinary considering he set the single-season record for turnovers this year. However, the Rockets offense playing out of sync in crunch time was unexpected. Harden went 0-for-3 from the field in overtime, as Houston scored just six points. The ugly play was punctuated by Ginobili's swat of Harden as time expired.

Manu

Fatigue may have been the problem for Houston. Playing without Nene Hilario, they used a seven-man rotation last game, compared to San Antonio's nine players. All but one Rockets starter logged 40-plus minutes, too. Running out of gas isn't a good sign considering they need to win the next two. Head coach Mike D'Antonio has to extend the rotation by at least one more player to avoid another choke job.

What an ugly shooting night Game 5 was too. Both teams missed a combined 54 three-pointers — no, that's not a typo. Houston was 16-of-48 and San Antonio was 11-of-33 from downtown, each with a poor 33 percent shooting. Despite this, the game was still an over. Sure, overtime helped, but betting anything besides the over on Thursday is insane. Four of the five games this series have gone over and no way these two teams shoot this bad again.

The seven-point spread entering Game 6 is the highest of the series. One has to assume that's because Leonard's health is in question. He may be playing, but Gregg Popovich yanking him during the pivotal moments of Game 5 is enough to keep us from knowing. 

We're picking Houston on Thursday as long as they stay committed to their style of basketball — screens, off-ball movement, precision passing. The iso-ball we saw late in Game 5 has to go. This starts and ends with Harden, who has to play like the best player on the court at all times, especially down the stretch. 

Pick: Houston (-7)

Total: Over

 
Results / FixturesNBA

Category : Sports Betting News

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