- Associated Press - Sunday, April 30, 2017

Capsule and prediction for the Western Conference semifinal series between San Antonio and Houston that begins Monday:

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No. 2 SAN ANTONIO SPURS (61-21, 4-2) vs. No. 3 HOUSTON ROCKETS (55-27, 4-1)

Season series: Spurs, 3-1.

Story line: Houston goes from the spectacular Russell Westbrook to the sturdy Spurs in the first postseason matchup between the division and Texas rivals since 1995. San Antonio limited the record-setting Rockets to 29.2 percent shooting from 3-point range in a four-game season series in which the Spurs won by two, two and six.

Key Matchup: Kawhi Leonard vs. James Harden. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich called Leonard the best player in the league right now and it certainly would’ve been hard to argue after San Antonio’s 112-110 victory on March 6, when Leonard made the go-ahead 3-pointer and then blocked Harden’s shot in one of the signature sequences of the NBA season. He spearheaded a defensive effort that limited Harden to 29.4 percent shooting behind the arc in the season series.

Prediction: Spurs in 7.

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Compiled by AP Basketball Writer Brian Mahoney

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More AP NBA: apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball


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