Rockets’ Ryan Anderson steps up at center in Nene’s absence

Caption

Close

Houston Rockets forward Ryan Anderson (3) appears to be in pain with his leg during the second half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets forward Ryan Anderson (3) appears to be in pain with his leg during the second half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston

… more

Photo: Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) battles with San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills (8) during the second half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) battles with San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills (8) during the second half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee

… more

Photo: Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets guard Bobby Brown (8) dribbles toward the basket during the second half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )

Houston Rockets guard Bobby Brown (8) dribbles toward the basket during the second half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )


Photo: Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets guard Lou Williams (12) shoots from mid-range during the second half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )

Houston Rockets guard Lou Williams (12) shoots from mid-range during the second half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )


Photo: Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley (2) celebrates his basket during the second half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )

Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley (2) celebrates his basket during the second half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )


Photo: Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle

San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills (8) finds himself surrounded by Houston Rockets players Eric Gordon (10), Trevor Ariza (1) and Lou Williams (12) during the second half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )

less

San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills (8) finds himself surrounded by Houston Rockets players Eric Gordon (10), Trevor Ariza (1) and Lou Williams (12) during the second half of the NBA Western Conference

… more

Photo: Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets forward Ryan Anderson (3) appears to be in pain with his leg during the second half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets forward Ryan Anderson (3) appears to be in pain with his leg during the second half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston

… more

Photo: Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley (2) goes for the basket during the second half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )

Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley (2) goes for the basket during the second half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )


Photo: Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley (2) passes the ball to Houston Rockets guard Lou Williams (12) during the second half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley (2) passes the ball to Houston Rockets guard Lou Williams (12) during the second half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. (

… more

Photo: Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets guard Lou Williams (12) tries to strip the ball from San Antonio Spurs forward David Lee (10) during the second half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets guard Lou Williams (12) tries to strip the ball from San Antonio Spurs forward David Lee (10) during the second half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in

… more

Photo: Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets center Clint Capela (15) fouls on San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) during the second half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets center Clint Capela (15) fouls on San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) during the second half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin

… more

Photo: Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets fans cheer for Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon (10) scoring a three-pointer during the second half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets fans cheer for Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon (10) scoring a three-pointer during the second half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin

… more

Photo: Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets players Trevor Ariza (1) and Clint Capela (15) defending San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) during the second half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets players Trevor Ariza (1) and Clint Capela (15) defending San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) during the second half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017,

… more

Photo: Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets guard Lou Williams (12) goes for the basket during the second half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )

Houston Rockets guard Lou Williams (12) goes for the basket during the second half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )


Photo: Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) talks to Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley (2) during the second half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) talks to Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley (2) during the second half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee

… more

Photo: Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) appears to be in pain with his left leg after battling with San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills (8) during the second half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) appears to be in pain with his left leg after battling with San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills (8) during the second half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4

… more

Photo: Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon (10) works to defend San Antonio Spurs guard Jonathon Simmons (17) during Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon (10) works to defend San Antonio Spurs guard Jonathon Simmons (17) during Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7,

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets forward Trevor Ariza (1) defends San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) during Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets forward Trevor Ariza (1) defends San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) during Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017,

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets fans react to Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon (10) not making a three-pointer during the second half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets fans react to Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon (10) not making a three-pointer during the second half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin

… more

Photo: Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle

San Antonio Spurs guard Dejounte Murray (5) shoots around Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) during Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

less

San Antonio Spurs guard Dejounte Murray (5) shoots around Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) during Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7,

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets forward Ryan Anderson (3) tries to stop a San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) shot during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets forward Ryan Anderson (3) tries to stop a San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) shot during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) backs into Houston Rockets forward Ryan Anderson (3) during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

less

San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) backs into Houston Rockets forward Ryan Anderson (3) during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets forward Ryan Anderson (3) reacts during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets forward Ryan Anderson (3) reacts during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets forward Ryan Anderson (3) tries to defend San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets forward Ryan Anderson (3) tries to defend San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) is pursued by San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills (8) during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) is pursued by San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills (8) during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center,

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili (20) and Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) battle for a rebound during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

less

San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili (20) and Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) battle for a rebound during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets forward Trevor Ariza (1) drives past San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets forward Trevor Ariza (1) drives past San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center,

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) tries to drive on Houston Rockets forward Ryan Anderson (3) during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

less

San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) tries to drive on Houston Rockets forward Ryan Anderson (3) during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) shoots between San Antonio Spurs forward David Lee (10) and guard Patty Mills (8) during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) shoots between San Antonio Spurs forward David Lee (10) and guard Patty Mills (8) during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets forward Trevor Ariza (1) drives past San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets forward Trevor Ariza (1) drives past San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center,

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets forward Ryan Anderson (3) looks up at a replay during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets forward Ryan Anderson (3) looks up at a replay during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. (

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets guard Lou Williams (12) shoots during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets guard Lou Williams (12) shoots during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren /

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) talks to Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley (2) during the second half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) talks to Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley (2) during the second half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee

… more

Photo: Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets forward Ryan Anderson (3) and San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili (20) battle for a rebound during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets forward Ryan Anderson (3) and San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili (20) battle for a rebound during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili (20) reacts after taking a body to the back during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

less

San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili (20) reacts after taking a body to the back during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7,

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets fans cheer for their player at the free throw line during the second half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )

Houston Rockets fans cheer for their player at the free throw line during the second half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )


Photo: Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) celebrates his three-pointer during the second half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) celebrates his three-pointer during the second half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )


Photo: Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) celebrates his three-pointer during the second half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) celebrates his three-pointer during the second half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )


Photo: Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) strips the ball from San Antonio Spurs guard Dejounte Murray (5) during the second half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) strips the ball from San Antonio Spurs guard Dejounte Murray (5) during the second half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. (

… more

Photo: Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) shoots a three-pointer during the second half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) shoots a three-pointer during the second half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )


Photo: Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley (2) drives during the first half of Game 3 in the second round of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series in Houston on Sunday, May 7, 2017. (Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle via AP)

less

Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley (2) drives during the first half of Game 3 in the second round of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series in Houston on Sunday, May 7, 2017. (Karen Warren/Houston

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Associated Press

Houston Rockets center Clint Capela (15) looks to shoot against San Antonio Spurs during the first half of Game 3 in the second round of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series in Houston on Sunday, May 7, 2017. (Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle via AP)

less

Houston Rockets center Clint Capela (15) looks to shoot against San Antonio Spurs during the first half of Game 3 in the second round of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series in Houston on Sunday, May

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Associated Press

Houston Rockets center Clint Capela (15) and San Antonio Spurs center Pau Gasol (16) battle for the ball during the first half in Game 4 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. (Karen Warren /Houston Chronicle via AP)

less

Houston Rockets center Clint Capela (15) and San Antonio Spurs center Pau Gasol (16) battle for the ball during the first half in Game 4 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Associated Press

Houston Rockets center Clint Capela (15) shoots around San Antonio Spurs center Pau Gasol (16) during the first half in Game 4 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series, Friday, May 5, 2017, in Houston. (Karen Warren /Houston Chronicle via AP)

less

Houston Rockets center Clint Capela (15) shoots around San Antonio Spurs center Pau Gasol (16) during the first half in Game 4 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series, Friday, May 5, 2017, in Houston.

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Associated Press

San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) blocks a Houston Rockets forward Trevor Ariza (1) shot during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

less

San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) blocks a Houston Rockets forward Trevor Ariza (1) shot during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets guard Lou Williams (12) drives past San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green (14) during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets guard Lou Williams (12) drives past San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green (14) during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center,

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili (20) reacts under the basket during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

less

San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili (20) reacts under the basket during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets forward Ryan Anderson (3) looks for a call during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets forward Ryan Anderson (3) looks for a call during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. (

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) shoots around San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green (14) during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) shoots around San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green (14) during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center,

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley (2) shoots over San Antonio Spurs center Pau Gasol (16) during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley (2) shoots over San Antonio Spurs center Pau Gasol (16) during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center,

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) shoots over San Antonio Spurs center Pau Gasol (16) during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) shoots over San Antonio Spurs center Pau Gasol (16) during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center,

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili (20) gets in front of a Houston Rockets guard Lou Williams (12) shot during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

less

San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili (20) gets in front of a Houston Rockets guard Lou Williams (12) shot during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) drives during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) drives during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren /

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets center Clint Capela (15) battles San Antonio Spurs center Pau Gasol (16) during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets center Clint Capela (15) battles San Antonio Spurs center Pau Gasol (16) during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday,

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets center Nene (42) grimaces on the sideline during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets center Nene (42) grimaces on the sideline during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. (

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) guards San Antonio Spurs guard Kyle Anderson (1) during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) guards San Antonio Spurs guard Kyle Anderson (1) during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday,

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon (10) drives past San Antonio Spurs guard Kyle Anderson (1) during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon (10) drives past San Antonio Spurs guard Kyle Anderson (1) during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center,

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) shoots past San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) shoots past San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni talks to a referee during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni talks to a referee during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. (

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) shoots during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) shoots during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren /

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon (10) shoots past San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili (20) during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon (10) shoots past San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili (20) during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center,

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon (10) shoots past San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili (20) during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon (10) shoots past San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili (20) during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center,

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) shoots during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) shoots during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren /

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets forward Trevor Ariza (1) puts the ball into the basket during the first half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )

Houston Rockets forward Trevor Ariza (1) puts the ball into the basket during the first half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )


Photo: Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle

San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) performs offense foul on Houston Rockets forward Ryan Anderson (3) during the first half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )

less

San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) performs offense foul on Houston Rockets forward Ryan Anderson (3) during the first half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in

… more

Photo: Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets forward Ryan Anderson (3) argues with the referee for a foul call for him while Trevor Ariza (1) tries to break him off during the first half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets forward Ryan Anderson (3) argues with the referee for a foul call for him while Trevor Ariza (1) tries to break him off during the first half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4

… more

Photo: Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets forward Trevor Ariza (1) looks to make a pass during the first half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )

Houston Rockets forward Trevor Ariza (1) looks to make a pass during the first half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )


Photo: Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley (2) passes the ball to his teammates during the first half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley (2) passes the ball to his teammates during the first half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston

… more

Photo: Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle

San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills (8) tries to stop Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon (10) from shooting a three-pointer during the first half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )

less

San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills (8) tries to stop Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon (10) from shooting a three-pointer during the first half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7,

… more

Photo: Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) puts the ball into the basket during the first half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) puts the ball into the basket during the first half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )


Photo: Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) puts the ball into the basket during the first half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) puts the ball into the basket during the first half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )


Photo: Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon (10) goes for the basket during the first half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )

Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon (10) goes for the basket during the first half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )


Photo: Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) goes for the basket during the first half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) goes for the basket during the first half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )


Photo: Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) dribbles past San Antonio Spurs players Danny Green (14) and LaMarcus Aldridge (12) during the first half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) dribbles past San Antonio Spurs players Danny Green (14) and LaMarcus Aldridge (12) during the first half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7,

… more

Photo: Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets fans cheer for Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) on the sideline during the first half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets fans cheer for Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) on the sideline during the first half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee /

… more

Photo: Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle

San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills (8) tries to stop a three-pointer by Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon (10) during the first half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )

less

San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills (8) tries to stop a three-pointer by Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon (10) during the first half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in

… more

Photo: Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) watches from the bench before the first half of Game 3 against the San Antonio Spurs in the second round of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series in Houston on Sunday, May 7, 2017. (Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle via AP)

less

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) watches from the bench before the first half of Game 3 against the San Antonio Spurs in the second round of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series in Houston on

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Associated Press

Houston Rockets forward Trevor Ariza (1) dunks the ball during the first half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )

Houston Rockets forward Trevor Ariza (1) dunks the ball during the first half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )


Photo: Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) puts the ball into the basket while San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green (14) is trying to block him during the first half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) puts the ball into the basket while San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green (14) is trying to block him during the first half of the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4

… more

Photo: Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) watches from the bench before the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) watches from the bench before the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. (

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets center Clint Capela (15) and San Antonio Spurs center Pau Gasol (16) battle for the ball during the first half in Game 4 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series, Friday, May 5, 2017, in Houston. (Karen Warren /Houston Chronicle via AP)

less

Houston Rockets center Clint Capela (15) and San Antonio Spurs center Pau Gasol (16) battle for the ball during the first half in Game 4 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series, Friday, May 5, 2017, in

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Associated Press

Houston Rockets forward Trevor Ariza (1) tries to avoid a collision with San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili (20) during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets forward Trevor Ariza (1) tries to avoid a collision with San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili (20) during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) shoots over Houston Rockets center Nene (42) during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

less

San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) shoots over Houston Rockets center Nene (42) during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center,

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) and Houston Rockets center Nene (42) face off during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

less

San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) and Houston Rockets center Nene (42) face off during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center,

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) and San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills (8) exchange words during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) and San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills (8) exchange words during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets center Clint Capela (15) tries to stop a shot by San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets center Clint Capela (15) tries to stop a shot by San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) runs down court during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) runs down court during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) dribbles past Houston Rockets forward Trevor Ariza (1) during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

less

San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) dribbles past Houston Rockets forward Trevor Ariza (1) during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets center Clint Capela (15) shoots around San Antonio Spurs center Pau Gasol (16) during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets center Clint Capela (15) shoots around San Antonio Spurs center Pau Gasol (16) during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center,

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets center Clint Capela (15) looks to shoot during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets center Clint Capela (15) looks to shoot during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

Fans get ready for the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

Fans get ready for the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )


Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets center Clint Capela (15) and San Antonio Spurs center Pau Gasol (16) battle for the tip during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets center Clint Capela (15) and San Antonio Spurs center Pau Gasol (16) battle for the tip during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley (2) drives during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley (2) drives during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

Fans get ready for the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

Fans get ready for the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )


Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) shoots a three point shot during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Karen Warren / Houston Chronicle )

less

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) shoots a three point shot during the first half of Game 3 of the second round of the Western Conference NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in

… more

Photo: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets defeated San Antonio Spurs 125-104 at the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )

Houston Rockets defeated San Antonio Spurs 125-104 at the NBA Western Conference semifinals Game 4 Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Houston. ( Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle )


Photo: Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle


Rockets forward Ryan Anderson played to what he claims is his biggest strength Sunday night.

“Spreading the court and giving everybody space,” he said. “I’m going to keep shooting the ball.”

Perhaps his second biggest strength, then, is his willingness to play out of position when needed, as he did in the Rockets’ 125-104 victory over the Spurs in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals at Toyota Center.


The Rockets tied the series at two wins each, and they did so minus one of their key contributors this postseason, save for a couple of early minutes. Backup center Nene suffered a groin injury in the first half and was taken to the hospital for an MRI exam. He played less than two minutes but in that span made two of his three shots and even snagged a steal.

Anderson moved over to center to help spell starter Clint Capela, and overall at both forward and center, he shot 5-of-11 for 13 points to go with four rebounds over 31 minutes.

“Hopefully Nene has a speedy recovery, because he’s huge for this team,” Anderson said. “His physicality and his ability to rebound – he had a great first series (against Oklahoma City), and he’s been having a great series so far here.”



(Story continues below … )

Moving forward the Rockets will count on more minutes from Capela (game-high nine rebounds Sunday), Anderson and Montrezl Harrell to fill in for Nene, if necessary. Capela got in early foul trouble, prompting even more minutes from Anderson at center.

Game 5 is Tuesday in San Antonio and Game 6 will be back in Houston on Thursday.

“Ryan did a great job making those shots and making a difference,” Capela said. “As for myself, I was trying to get defensive rebounds and block shots, and outrun them. Our offense was rolling tonight.”

Even with Nene out of the lineup, Harrell played only two minutes. He entered the game averaging a little more than five minutes per game in the playoffs and started 14 games in the regular season when either Nene or Capela were out, including once when both were out.

Nene entered Sunday’s game averaging 10.8 points and 5.3 rebounds per game in the playoffs, in about 20 minutes per game in spelling Capela. Nene’s shining moment of the postseason came when he made all 12 of his field goals in the Rockets’ 113-109 win at Oklahoma City on April 23 in the opening round of the postseason.

That tied an NBA postseason record for most shots made without a miss in a single game. Larry McNeill of the then-Kansas City-Omaha Kings first set the record in 1975. Nene didn’t play in 15 regular-season games this season, but those were because of coach’s decision and not injury.

The Spurs won’t feel sorry for the Rockets. San Antonio lost veteran point guard Tony Parker for the playoffs in Game 2 with a torn quadriceps. The Rockets players and coach Mike D’Antoni said late Sunday they weren’t sure of the severity of Nene’s injury.

“We’ll have a better handle on it (on Monday) but obviously he pulled his groin pretty good,” D’Antoni said. “We’ll see. …. I kind of like Ryan at the five, so it was kind of a decision that made itself.”

The versatile Anderson (6-10, 240) said it wasn’t the first time and likely won’t be the last – and he’s up for the task at center.

“If we don’t get (Nene back) guys are going to have to step up, myself included,” Anderson said. “I might have to play some more center and obviously guard the big guys, and focus on getting more rebounds and getting more physical.”

Like everyone else, Trevor Ariza said he hopes Nene is back soon. But if not, he still believes center is in good hands between Capela and Anderson.

“Ryan was big for us,” Ariza said. “He was looking for a game like this, and him showing up big was big for us.”