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It’ll Be Texas vs Texas in the Western Conference Semi-Finals Tonight

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Getty Images

The upcoming 7-game series between Houston’s Rockets & San Antonio’s Spurs will be about much more than the matchup between MVP candidate’s James Harden & Kawhi Leonard.

It’s really about a contrast in team styles:  the “system” used by Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich, now in his 21st season on the San Antonio bench, versus the “run & gun” approach that’s working for Rockets Coach Mike D’Antoni.

As this NBA.com article details, there are really three main issues to watch unfold as the games progress.  1- Can anyone slow down Harden? To borrow a phrase from sportscaster Dan Patrick, “you can’t stop him, you can only hope to contain him”!  2-  Does Leonard’s strong play at both ends of the court dominate this round like it did in San Antonio’s just concluded series against Memphis.  3-  Is there enough left in Tony Parker’s 34-year-old tank to be a series difference maker for the Spurs.  If he plays well enough offensively to force the Rockets to give him extra attention, that could create openings for others on the court in silver & black.

Here’s an interesting piece of NBA Playoff trivia:  this will be the first time in 22 years that the Rockets & Spurs have faced each other in the post-season, & only the third time in history!  Houston has come out on top in all of those previous series.  However, during the 2016-17 regular season, San Antonio was victorious three times in four meetings.  So who do you predict wins & moves on to the Western Conference Finals?  Frankly it’s too close to call.  Although my gut says this is James Harden & the Rockets’ year, the veteran Spurs unit almost always comes up big when the money’s on the line.  We’ll find out soon enough!  Game 1-  Monday night at 7:30 on TNT from the AT&T Center in San Antonio.

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