SAN ANTONIO (CBS HOUSTON) – The Houston Rockets let a five point lead slip away in regulation and were outscored 9-6 in overtime in a 110-107 loss to the San Antonio Spurs in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals Tuesday night at AT&T Center.
Manu Ginobili blocked a potential game tying James Harden three-point attempt in the final seconds of overtime to seal the victory that puts the Spurs a win away from reaching the Western Conference finals as they lead the best-of-seven series 3-2.
Patty Mills started at point guard for the first time in the series after DeJounte Murray started the previous two games in Tony Parker’s absence. Mills scored eight points in the first quarter and helped the Spurs run out to an early 22-11 lead.
“He did tonight what he’s done for us the entire time he’s been here,” Spurs coach Greg Popovich said about Mills. “We just wanted to start off better offensively and not get in a hole with these guys, because if you get behind you’ve got bring problems.”
Both teams had a chance to take a lead in the final half-minute of the game. Harden committed an offensive foul with 11.1 remaining in regulation. Spurs fans erupted as they saw a Mills three-point shot go through the net, but he didn’t get the shot off before the clock hit zero sending the game into overtime tied at 101.
Pace was an issue for the Rockets down the stretch as they scored just 24 points over the final 17 minutes of the game. Harden, who finished the game with a triple-double of 33 points 10 rebounds and 10 assists, cited that their inability to get stops halted their ability to get out and run down the stretch.
“In order to get out and run and play our brand of basketball we gotta get stops,” Harden said. “They did a good job of rebounding the basketball and kind of slowed us down a little bit.”
Tuesday night’s game was by far the closest and most competitive of the series and the teams traded blows throughout the game with six ties and 14 lead changes. The Rockets scored the first points of the overtime with a Patrick Beverley three with two minutes to play. The Spurs closed out the extra session on a 9-3 run to seal the win.
The series shifts back to Toyota Center for Game Six on Thursday night.
Alex Del Barrio covers the Houston Texans for Sportsradio610.com and is the color commentator for the Houston Dynamo. He also hosts “ADB and Murph” with Matt Murphy which can be heard on Saturday afternoons 4-7 pm Follow Alex Del Barrio on Twitter: @alexdelbarrio