Kawhi Leonard didn’t play for the Spurs tonight, and it ultimately didn’t matter too much. Jonathon Simmons started in his stead and rose to the occasion, scoring 18, while LaMarcus Aldridge led the team with 34 and San Antonio cruised to an easy 114-75 win along with a Western Conference Finals berth.
James Harden didn’t play for the Rockets tonight, and it mattered very much. In 37 minutes, he was completely ineffectual—10 points on 2-of-11 shooting, with three rebounds and seven assists. His first half saw more turnovers (five) than shot attempts (two) (two!), and the fact that things got ever so marginally better for him in the second wasn’t nearly enough to redeem any part of his passive, confusing performance.
There were essentially no bright spots for the Rockets, falling behind early and never making a serious run in a game that made Harden seem like an uncoordinated child while someone like Dejounte Murray looked near unstoppable.
The Spurs will have the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals, starting on Sunday.