James Harden and Dwight Howard were quiet early on, scoring a combined five points in the first half. The starters also went nearly 18 minutes without a field goal. But the Houston bench contributed 24 points, allowing the Rockets to only trail the Spurs by five at the end of the first half. Despite the bench contribution and excellent defense, the Rockets knew they needed Harden to come up big in the second half in order to take the win.
Harden answered the silver bell, scoring six points within the opening three minutes of the second half and kept the game close. With only a few minutes left in the third quarter, the Rockets took the lead at 51—49 over the Spurs.
Houston opened the fourth quarter on a 11-0 run, capped by a 3-pointer by Jason Terry, leading the game 70-60. San Antonio fought back, using the hacking tactic on Dwight Howard and Clint Capela, but it wasn’t enough. Harden hit clutch back-to-back 3-pointers with only minutes left in the game. But the defensive effort was what shined the most.
The Rockets limited the Spurs’ scoring to a season low 84 points and claimed a big victory in a big way on a big day.