The San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets split the first two games at the AT&T Center, with each team blowing one another out. The Rockets looked brilliant offensively in Game 1, making 22 threes and moving the ball around flawlessly. However, San Antonio recovered with a major defensive effort in Game 2, shutting down James Harden and controlling the pace.

Tony Parker’s injury effect

Tony Parker suffered a severe injury last in the game on Wednesday and did not return. He has been diagnosed with a torn quadriceps tendon and will miss the remainder of the playoffs.

Parker’s loss will be huge, as he was playing much better during the playoffs, averaging 16 points. In his absence, Patty Mills will earn the start and is fully capable of the increase in responsibility.

However, the most concerning part will be the bench unit. Off the pine, Dejounte Murray may have to play more minutes, and he must play at a high level, or else San Antonio’s bench gets thinner. Murray played significantly well during the regular season when he was called upon, but the level of play during the playoffs changes, which would require Murray to be absolutely efficient.

Kawhi Leonard on James Harden

Kawhi Leonard defended James Harden for the majority of Game 2, which was one of my keys for San Antonio after a horrible Game 1 loss.

As expected, Leonard contained Harden, holding him to 13 points on 3-of-17 shooting from the field. If the Spurs want to control pace again, Leonard must take on Harden for the majority of the game just like he did in Game 2.

More offense outside of Kawhi Leonard

Are we finally going to see someone else other than Leonard step up on the offensive end?

Leonard is averaging 27.5 points in this series and will need more offensive help on the road especially with Parker out. LaMarcus Aldridge has to be the one who steps to the occasion, followed by Pau Gasol and Manu Ginobili. The Spurs need a more collective effort from their complimentary players if they want to take home-court advantage back.

Houston’s three-point shooting

Being at home, Houston’s three-point shooting touch may return again. They are deadly at home because the role players feed off the crowd’s energy and fire up many threes, connecting on most of them. Spurs have to be sharp defensively by running out on shooters and trusting their interior defense. Gregg Popovich did make the adjustment in Game 2 by inserting Gasol into the starting lineup, playing bigger in the paint which helped.

After two blowout games, it should be an entertaining Game 3 at home since both teams are going to be desperate to take a series lead. Game 3 will be at the Toyota Center at 9:30 pm Eastern Time, televised on ESPN.