Houston Rockets vs. San Antonio Spurs game preview

It's back! - Greg Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Rockets take their 5-game winning streak into San Antonio where they meet the division-leading Spurs.

The last time these teams met in San Antonio it was a blowout. Can the Rockets keep their streak going?

Rockets vs Spurs coverage

Pounding The Rock

Houston Rockets Tickets

The last couple of years the Spurs have been like the New York Giants during the regular season. You know, "Hey don't look at us. We're pretty good and our record is good but you shouldn't feel threatened. We're very beatable."

Then the playoffs start and suddenly they're a juggernaut and a tough out.

Last year, when they won their first 10 playoff games (convincingly, I might add), I thought they were going to roll over everyone. The Thunder looked outmatched and the Spurs were on one of those shooting streaks where you weren't wondering when it would end (because 10 in a row is no fluke), but wondering if any team could outscore them by shooting 70%.

But the Thunder figured out a way. Just like every best-of-seven series, you have to find a way to win one game.

For years, the Spurs were known as an elite defensive unit. Now, they're average in points allowed. They have the second highest scoring team in the league, just behind our beloved Rockets.

Number 1 offense vs. number 2 offense? Sounds like fun to me.

Finally, the Rockets are on a five game winning streak thanks in part to BD, who wrote the first preview during this run. So whenever we lose next, you know who to blame.

Tip off is at 7:30pm CST.

Matchups:

Point Guard: Jeremy Lin vs. Tony Parker

Pounding the Rock has a saying that "Tony must dominate Fisher." It has a funny history.

Anyway, I'm going with Jeremy must cancel out Tony. Lin has been way more aggressive and he's been much more fun to watch. I'd love for him to hit some threes to make defenses respect him, but I think his knee is finally 100% and he has confidence in it and himself. It's been a joy to watch that progression, even if it was tough at times.

Advantage: Spurs

Shooting Guard: James Harden vs. Manu Ginobili

Danny Green starts and will see plenty of time here. Otherwise, it's Rocket-killer (okay, everyone-killer) Manu against a dude who even I wasn't ready for.

Gun to my head, I knew Harden would put up numbers. On this team, I knew he had no choice. But for this team to be 16-12 right now is a credit to him and the coaching staff (and Asik). I figured the Rockets would be fighting to get to .500 all year, and they might still, but I've been pleasantly surprised by the youngest team in the NBA.

Advantage: Rockets

Small Forward: Chandler Parsons vs. Kawhi Leonard

Yes to this matchup! Just yes!

It'll be interesting to see how much they guard each other, but I've been waiting a while for this one.

Advantage: Even

Power Forward: Marcus Morris vs. Tiago Splitter

I know Patterson is active, but I don't think he'll be suiting up tonight. It doesn't make sense with a back-to-back going on. Especially with the Thunder tomorrow night.

This is a really crummy part of the schedule, huh? Four games in five nights against playoff teams, with three on the road and the one home game against the Western Conference champs? If I made the NBA schedules, the Rockets would play the Wizards every game.

They would still manage to go 41-41.

Advantage: Spurs

Center: Omer Asik vs. Tim Duncan

Since I live in Lubbock most of the year, I don't get to watch many games on television. Mostly, I watch them huddled in front of my computer. Or I Twitter-watch (shameless plug to follow TDS writers).

Being home for the holidays has allowed me to do something I normally don't get to do, which is watch the Rockets with my dad. I still remember the first game I ever watched (February 8, 1994 loss to the Bucks). As we watched, he taught me the basics of basketball since I was five. After about a week, I knew more about basketball than he did. But I still enjoy sitting with him and watching. It's an experience I'm very grateful for, because I know it can't last forever.

Well, Asik is his favorite Rocket right now. Except, not all the time. He's a...fickle kind of guy. When Asik grabs a rebound in traffic it's "Great rebound. He's very good!" and when someone throws him a low pass on a pick-and-roll and he can't corral it my dad will say, "Idiot! Why can't he catch the ball?" It's hilarious and telling at the same time.

He would remind me of John McClain if he was overweight, an idiot, and said pathetic a lot. So basically, he's nothing like McClain. Thankfully.

Advantage: Spurs

Bench

Rockets: Toney Douglas, Carlos Delfino, Greg Smith

Spurs: DeJuan Blair, Matt Bonner, Danny Green (though he starts), Nando de Colo, Patty Mills, Stephen Jackson, Boris Diaw

Advantage: Spurs

Prediction: Spurs defense prevents Rockets from doing what they like to do. Spurs win 102-85.

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