And in the end it was the Spurs who came out on top thanks to a vintage performance by the ageless (possibly immortal) Manu Ginobili.
The Spurs still managed to defeat Houston 110-107 without their do-everything star to take a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference semifinals. The long-time Spur has been quiet for most of the regular season and playoffs, only coming out when San Antonio truly needed him.
Danny Green scored 16 points, including San Antonio's final seven, and Manu Ginobili blocked a potential game-tying 3-point attempt by James Harden in the final second to propel the Spurs.
The defending Western Conference champions have won both their series in four games and were awaiting the victor of the Rockets-Spurs series that was tied at 2-2 going into Tuesday. Both offenses executed horrendously over the final 17 minutes.
Simmons responded by scoring 10 points on 5-for-13 shooting in 26 minutes. San Antonio isn't likely to get lit up two straight games, especially returning home. Lee only got 11 minutes.
Mills said he relished starting in a big-time game. Or Houston could use 6-8 athletic power forward Montrezl Harrell, who has played only sparingly in the postseason, to fill in. They're already without Tony Parker.
It's still a massive uphill climb.
Spurs, Rockets try to wake up NBA's sleepy second round
Spurs' Patty Mills (08) closely defends Houston Rockets' Trevor Ariza (01) in Game 3 at the Toyota Center on Friday, May 5, 2017. The Spurs' Game 5 overtime victory over the Rockets is the type of game where you often do your analysis based on the outcome.
Two questionable plays closed regulation with the score 101-101.
Leonard's layup with 28.2 seconds left pulled San Antonio to within 85-83.
Leonard said his ankle was the injury that sidelined him.
And if it is, the Rockets most obvious danger is their 3-point potency. When they're hot, it's hard to contain.
The Rockets looked exhausted late in the game. The slow and steady Spurs lost 125-104, overwhelmed by a fast and furious Rockets group that rediscovered its identity with its special season on the line. So the strategy against the Warriors, if they get there, will be simple: Fight the talent disadvantage with math. "I think now we have kind of really figured out what needs to happen and what we need to do to win". "We weren't going to lose the game being on our heels". A ideal opportunity to tie the game: Houston's best player, with what appeared to be a clean look from the three-point line. The Houston Rockets are allowing 32.2 percent shooting from deep and are grabbing 43.1 rebounds per game. Houston has to have a victory in Game 6 to keep alive their hopes of reaching the conference finals for the second time in three years.
Aside from Isaiah Thomas' 19 points, no other Boston starter played good enough to challenge the Wizards. That night, they hit 14 threes and made 22 free throws (another Houston strength). That makes him about 94 in basketball years, and it also means that he joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone and John Stockton as the only 40-year-olds since 1964 to record multiple double-digit scoring games during a postseason.
Brown went on to say that although the team will have Thursday off again before resuming practice on Friday and Saturday, the staff will still meet and focus "mostly" on San Antonio.