Patty Mills helps Spurs ground the Rockets
BASKETBALL: The San Antonio Spurs have booked a place in the Western Conference finals of the NBA playoffs, where they'll face the Golden State Warriors.
Despite the absence of star wing Kawhi Leonard, the Spurs managed to complete a 114-75 dismantling off the cold-shooting Houston Rockets, and will advance to the next round of the post-season.
Patty Mills earned his second consecutive start for the Spurs, finishing with 14 points and seven assists in 27 minutes of action.
Mills, whose place in the starting line-up is due to a long-term injury to Tony Parker, also had a plus-25 plus-minus rating, and committed just one turnover.
LaMarcus Aldridge led the way for the Spurs with 34 points and 12 rebounds, while Jonathan Simmons posted 18 points in the first post-season start of his career.
For the Rockets, James Harden struggled - scoring just 10 points on two-for-11 shooting - while Trevor Ariza dropped a game-high 20 points.
The upcoming series against the Warriors will likely see Mills matched up against Stephen Curry, joining Matthew Dellavedova as Australians who've gone up against the two-time MVP in recent post-seasons.
Game 1 of the Western Conference finals begins at 5.30am (AEST) on Monday.
The Celtics face the Wizards in game six of their series at 10am on Saturday.