Rockets center Nene out for rest of NBA playoffs with groin injury

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

In a game the Rockets had to win to avoid facing elimination in two nights, Harden was brilliant.

Down 2-1 in their best-of-seven second-round playoff series with the Spurs after losing two in a row, the Rockets are calling Sunday night's Game 4 a must-win affair. This unit was 74 together and typically the one Popovich deployed in end of game situations.

The second round of the National Basketball Association finals kicked off Sunday night. Maybe not mathematically, but psychologically. "You've got to protect your home court no matter what". Golden State, San Antonio and Houston each won more games than any Eastern Conference team.

Thankfully, it doesn't need to. Beverley was seen sobbing at his locker before the game and again on the court during warmup. He was even more productive during the playoffs, averaging 10.0 points and 4.7 rebounds in 17.9 minutes per game while shooting 70.6 percent from the floor. Thoughts and prayers to Patrick Beverley.

"It sounds kind of counterintuitive, but it's not really about defence", Popovich said about defending the Rockets in transition.

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Based on a combination of the bench's lack of production and solid production from starter Trevor Ariza, he logged a game-high 45 minutes in Game 3, more than four minutes longer than any player from either team. It is going to be the most important game of the Rockets' franchise in recent memory.

We can only hope that those practices are carried out but we'll see tonight. The fact that he went to the University of Houston is extra salt in the wound. Suddenly, what started out as a series dominated by Houston morphed into an eerie reflection of last year's semifinals in which the Spurs blasted OKC in Game 1, then proceeded to lose three of the next four, and, ultimately, the series. Against San Antonio, Nene averaged 5.5 points and 2.3 rebounds in 12.8 minutes of action. The foursome combined for 54 points and helped keep the Spurs on the ropes for most of the night. As outlined earlier, they could have de facto sewn up the series. Just push the ball. The Spurs managed to contain him in Game 2. Whilst the Rockets ended up only being outscored by five points in the last quarter, they looked 15 points worse.

The big men are delivering the goods for the Spurs, so keep feeding them.

Pop kept Gasol and Aldridge separated, and the resulting space not only opened up the Spurs' offense, it also helped them play tighter defense. Regardless, it's a tough blow for Houston, who relied on Nene heavily this season. It's enough to drive you insane but you just do your best. He's been in my life since I can remember, been in my cousins' life since I can remember ... tough. It can not be understated how important Nene has been and is for this team. "Guys have to step up". Clint Capela is still raw and a little awkward, and everyone else gets their buckets playing off of Harden on the perimeter. "You don't want to get him going because it's easy to get a rhythm when you're a scorer and you get to the free-throw line". He has been glued to the bench this series.

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