Reversal of fortunes as Kawhi leads rout but Spurs lose Parker

Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard goes up for a reverse layup as Rockets centre Clint Capela attempts to defend during Game Two.
Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard goes up for a reverse layup as Rockets centre Clint Capela attempts to defend during Game Two.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

SAN ANTONIO (Texas) • Kawhi Leonard recorded 34 points, eight assists and seven rebounds as the San Antonio Spurs rolled to a 121-96 victory over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday in Game Two of their National Basketball Association (NBA) Western Conference semi-final playoff series.

The best-of-seven series is tied at 1-1 and moves to Houston for Game Three today (tomorrow morning, Singapore time).

"We were focused," Leonard said. "We lost by 30 points last game so we didn't want to disappoint the fans."

San Antonio's victory celebration was tempered, however, by an injury to four-time NBA champion Tony Parker.

He was carried off the floor by team-mates Dewayne Dedmon and Dejounte Murray with 8min 43sec left after suffering a left leg injury.

The Spurs led 97-83 at the time of the injury, which happened as Parker landed in the paint underneath the Rockets' basket after missing a short layup.

The Frenchman, who scored 18 points before the injury, clutched his left knee as he lay on the floor.

He will have an MRI but the Spurs are not expecting him to play in Game Three.

"It's not good," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said.

While the Spurs were able to rally without their 34-year-old point guard, they know his absence is a huge blow.

San Antonio guard Manu Ginobili said: "We're going to miss his presence. We're going to maybe have to find rotations without point guards for moments."

LaMarcus Aldridge scored 15 points for the Spurs, while Jonathon Simmons added 14 points.

Danny Green scored all of his 12 points in the first half and Pau Gasol took a game-high 13 rebounds.

Ryan Anderson led the Rockets with 18 points as Houston got double-figure scoring from six players.

Lou Williams hit for 15 points and Clint Capela poured in 14, James Harden scored 13 points and had 10 assists, Patrick Beverley tallied 12 points and Nene contributed 10 points.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 05, 2017, with the headline 'Reversal of fortunes as Kawhi leads rout but Spurs lose Parker'. Print Edition | Subscribe