The third-seeded Rockets knew entering Sunday's late game they needed more output from their reserves if they were going to make a series out of it with second-seeded San Antonio.
Houston Rockets center Nene is out for the rest of the season, a day after he tore a muscle in his left thigh.
Nene left Game 4 after playing just 1 minute and 43 seconds of action for the Rockets, who ended up winning 125-104 to even the series.
Despite Nene's absence, the Rockets almost won the rebounding battle against the Spurs' bigger lineup, finishing a minus-two on the glass in their 125-104 victory. The Rockets do need to figure out how many of Nene's 18 minutes a night they're comfortable handing to Kyle Wiltjer, but that's a problem for the defensive end, and defense isn't as fun as chucking up 50 3s a game. The Spurs tried to control the tempo through a plodding, half-court style, but the Rockets showed great focus on defense and a commitment to pushing the pace whenever possible.
The Rockets sank 19 three-pointers compared to the Spurs' seven. "We'll see. I don't have more than that".
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Spurs star Kawhi Leonard will be Kawhi Leonard. I tried to go out there and play as hard as I could for my teammates tonight man. The good news is I don't think it's as bad as I'm hoping it wouldn't be. Nene was complementing Capela well in the playoffs, averaging 10.0 points and 4.7 rebounds per game in Houston's nine-game run through the Western Conference thus far.
San Antonio's two most-used lineups - the starters, with Dejounte Murray at point guard, and another group that includes the starters with Patty Mills at the point - in this game allowed the Rockets to shoot 9-of-16 from range in 17 minutes.
History says it's over: No NBA team has wasted a 3-0 series lead, James has never coughed up as much as a 2-0 series lead, and even if the Raptors get injured point guard Kyle Lowry (ankle) back for Sunday he surely won't be anywhere near his best.
"First, we all have to play better, but obviously the bench has been where we've closed the gap or went ahead", D'Antoni said. He should be fine for Tuesday's critical Game 5 in San Antonio. May.
The Rockets outscored the Spurs 34-23 in the third period, hitting eight 3-pointers. "Keep pressing them, go up 50 if we can".