Spurs easily beat Rockets 121-96

Kawhi Leonard recorded 34 points, eight assists and seven rebounds as the San Antonio Spurs rolled to a 121-96 victory over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday in Game 2 of their Western Conference semifinal playoff series.

The best-of-seven series is tied at 1-1 and moves to Houston for Games 3 and 4 on Friday and Sunday.

San Antonio’s victory celebration was tempered, however, by an injury to guard Tony Parker. He was carried off the floor by teammates with 8:43 remaining after sustaining a left leg injury.

The Spurs led 97-83 at the time of the injury, which happened as Parker landed in the paint underneath the Rockets’ basket after missing a short layup.

Parker, who had scored 18 points before the injury, clutched his left knee as he lay on the floor. Teammates and Houston players walked over to console him. He was carried off by teammates Dewayne Dedmon and Dejounte Murray and did not look up as the crowd chanted his name.

LaMarcus Aldridge scored 15 points for the Spurs while Jonathon Simmons added 14 points, Danny Green scored his 12 points all in the first half, and Pau Gasol took a game-high 13 rebounds for San Antonio.

Ryan Anderson led the Rockets with 18 points as Houston got double-figure scoring from six players. Lou Williams hit for 15 points for Houston and Clint Capela poured in 14, James Harden scored 13 points and had 10 assists, Patrick Beverley tallied 12 points and Nene contributed 10 points. Harden was 3-for-17 from the field.

The Spurs led by as many as nine points in the first quarter before settling for a 33-30 advantage after 12 minutes. Houston survived San Antonio’s initial onslaught thanks to 10 points in the period from Anderson and a 9-2 run in the waning minutes.

San Antonio’s final basket of the quarter was from Aldridge, who played the entire period and scored six points, two more than he had in all of Game 1. Green’s nine points in the first quarter were the most he has scored in a quarter of a playoff game since he scored 11 in the 2014 NBA Finals.

The Spurs kept the hot hand in the second quarter thanks mostly to 19 assists on 27 baskets, 56.3 percent shooting and one turnover. Houston trailed by as much as 13 points in the second quarter and went to halftime down 65-55 despite three points (on 1-of-9 shooting) by Harden and two points from Trevor Ariza.

Leonard led all scorers with 20 points in the half while Green hit for 12 and Parker had 11 for the Spurs. Houston was led by Anderson’s 15 points (on 6-for-6 shooting) and Gordon’s 12 points off the bench.

Harden’s 10 points in the third quarter helped the Rockets cut the lead to 88-83 as things got a little testy between the teams and Houston showed it would not be satisfied with winning once on the Spurs’ home floor.

But most of the good things the Rockets did to get close was washed away by a 9-0 San Antonio run to over the first 1:52 of the fourth period, with the yeoman’s work in that surge done by its bench players, namely Manu Ginobili and Jonathon Simmons.

NOTES: Spurs C/F Pau Gasol got his first start since Jan. 17 in Game 2 on Wednesday. Gasol began the season in the starting lineup but went to the bench after missing 15 games with a left hand injury. … Houston has won Game 1 of both its series this postseason after losing the first game of the series in its past three postseason outings. The last time the Rockets won the first two Game 1s of a postseason was in 2009. … Since San Antonio joined the NBA in 1976, no other player in the NBA has scored more points off the bench in the postseason than Spurs G Manu Ginobili. In 205 postseason games, Ginobili has come off the bench 153 times and scored 1,906 points. … Houston won Game 1 at San Antonio by 27 points, marking the largest margin of defeat by the Spurs at home in franchise playoff history.