The victor of the series will play the Golden State Warriors for a place in the NBA Finals.
Even before Leonard got hurt Tuesday night, Houston was keeping pace with San Antonio on their home floor.
That's when Danny Green and the Spurs' supporting cast stepped up.
San Antonio Spurs shooting guard Manu Ginobili blocks Houston Rockets guard James Harden to secure an overtime win in Game 5 of the Western Conference Semi-Finals. Harden had his first triple-double of the series, leading all scorers with 33 points while taking 10 rebounds and dishing out 10 assists. While the Spurs held serve and won the pivotal game 110-107, they might be without their best player in small forward Kawhi Leonard for Game 6 in Houston. His defining moment though, came in the waning moments of regulation. Leonard finished the game with 22 points (8-of-21 shooting) and 14 rebounds.
Rookie Dejounte Murray started the previous two games at point guard after Parker suffered a ruptured left quadriceps tendon. Leonard pledged to play in Game 6, but uncertainty has gripped the Spurs again. Though Leonard re-entered the game for a brief stretch, Ginobili carried the load of the No. 1 scoring option down the stretch. "Especially as exhausted as (James) Harden kind of looks and the way the Warriors really D up and with Draymond and the length of that defense, I think it would be an easier series against Houston, but like you said I don't think either are extending to six games or anything".
The swing here is so important that the Rockets MUST treat this like a Game 7. When it wasn't Ginobili driving to the rim, it was Jonathon Simmons getting in front of Harden to draw a charge. The Spurs failed to take a shot on their final possession, with Patty Mills banking in a 3-pointer after the buzzer sounded. "I tried to bother him as much as I could".
But the defensive effort and facilitating Houston's offense appeared to take a toll on Harden. He also had 9 turnovers.
Mills played a marathon 43 minutes on Tuesday and in overtime only managed one shot, a miss.
Patty Mills should lead the San Antonio Spurs at point again in game 6 of the National Basketball Association playoffs against the Houston Rockets.
The Spurs now take a 3-2 advantage in this best-of-seven series.
Green made a go-ahead 3-pointer and converted a three-point play to make it 109-107 Spurs with 30.1 seconds left.
Harden wasn't the only Rocket who seemed spent late on a night when Houston used just seven players.
INJURY UPDATE: The Rockets lost backup center Nene for the remainder of the postseason because of a muscle tear in his left thigh.
"He's a little bit more unsafe, so you have to pay more attention to him", Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni said of Mills before Game 5.