Spurs overcome Leonard injury, Harden to beat Rockets in OT

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SAN ANTONIO - The one that James Harden couldn't finish.

That's how Game 5 will be remembered. Irvine got a second chance with Detroit in 1999-2000 and stuck around for one more season.

Houston rallied to tie the game at 35 on a Clint Capela layup at the 9:23 mark of the second quarter and the game seesawed back and forth through the rest of the period before the Rockets claimed a 60-58 edge at halftime.

The Spurs missed their first five shots of the third quarter allowing Houston to forge a 5-0 run and a 65-58 lead. And his legs. And his control.

Patty Mills gave Spurs the early advantage over the Rockets.

But a real MVP finds a way to close Game 5. He committed six turnovers after halftime, dribbled out the clock into nothingness at the end of regulation and disappeared when the Rockets needed him most.

The result was harsh on the Rockets' James Harden, who impressed from the start and led all scorers with 33 points. But the final score was 110-107 San Antonio at AT&T Center.

"I missed shots and just didn't make enough plays to win", said Harden, who was 11-of-24 from the floor and 4-of-15 on 3s. "I just didn't have a rhythm (in overtime)". He came off the bench to score 12 points, grab seven rebounds and hand out five assists.

Harden scored 28 points and Eric Gordon added 22 as the Rockets never trailed and used hot 3-point shooting to pull away in the third quarter.

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Sure, Harden looked exhausted, and he took a (mostly uncalled) beating in this game, but the fact remains that the Rockets had the Spurs on the ropes, and instead of coming through with timely clutch plays within the system, The Beard wilted under the heat in a Westbrookian display of "why"? Nearly always the best player on the court. But the game was still there for the taking, and it's disappointing to see that type of late performance from Harden.

After Game 5 in San Antonio on Tuesday, the series shifts back to Houston for Game 6 on Thursday night. Pau Gasol had eight points and seven rebounds.

But then you think of all those commercials, TV specials, jumbotrons and billboards. "Game 5, at home, you just try to soak it up and play hard".

We sure could use a little Clutch City.

There's a way out of this. Game 4 marked Houston's second win by 20-plus points this series and its third of this postseason, the first time the Rockets have won multiple games by 20 or more points in a playoff series and in a single postseason in franchise history.

The Rockets have lived through Harden all year. I saw a switch, but I should have stayed up because (Patrick) Beverley went with LaMarcus and we could have played off that.

"We just need him to keep going and doing what he's doing". Then the offense completely disappeared, Harden dribbled too long and 39-year-old Manu Ginobili ended it by capping The Beard from behind.

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