Kawhi Leonard No.2 of the San Antonio Spurs drives against Clint Capela No.15 of the Houston Rockets during Game Two of the NBA Western Conference Semi-Finals at AT&T Center on Thursday in San Antonio, Texas. The team said a timeline for Parker's return will be announced at a later date.
Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard scored 26 points apiece in San Antonio's first postseason game without Parker since 2001, which ended an National Basketball Association record of 221 straight playoff appearances for the Frenchman. Parker is the longest-tenured player on the team, a leader on the floor, and adored by the San Antonio fanbase. Parker had 18 points before the injury. Backup Patty Mills will likely absorb between 5 and 10 of them, but he's a fundamentally different type of guard from Tony.
Parker, 34, had played in 221 career postseason games without missing one in 16 seasons with the Spurs.
Tied at one game apiece, the series between the Rockets and Spurs now shifts to Houston.
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Rockets players, referring to Popovich and the Spurs as a "machine", said they didn't think much would change with Parker out.
While it might not feel as good in the end now, the Houston Rockets will have to use Parker's absence to benefit them.
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Trevor Ariza, who already had five treys in two quarters, put Houston up early in the second period before Leonard scored eight in a 12-5 spurt to close the break strong and take a 43-39 lead at halftime.
"You can't replace Tony Parker".
Parker's injury puts the Spurs in a hard spot this offseason because they have no cap room to go after a guard, especially with Pau Gasol expected to opt in for $14 million. "I'm going to just hold back", Roberson said of guarding Harden without fouling him. And from the sound of it, Parker may not play another minute for the Spurs this season. Pop will first need to decide what to do with the 26.4 minutes Parker was playing per game in the playoffs.
The Spurs have now regained homecourt advantage in the series and now lead 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.
Harden won't be slowed forever, but Leonard has the best chance of limiting him.
Spurs reserve Jonathon Simmons provided a lift, scoring consecutive baskets at the close of the third quarter and then opening the fourth by diving into the front row of seats to save a loose ball that led to Manu Ginobilis layup.
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