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Rockets 103, Spurs 104: Duncan blocks Rockets comeback effort

Hack-a-Smith and turnovers do Rockets in late.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Rockets and Spurs traded blows up in the first half, 48-46. Terrence Jones took over in the third, showing many of his many skills in the post and as stretch four - scoring nine points. With the score 64-64 in the third quarter, Gregg Popovich turned to hack-a-Smith and hack-a-Howard. Josh Smith was sent to the line 13 times in the third and fourth quarter. Smith was 12-for-26 from the line. The charity strip wasn't the only problem. As has been the problem through the season, Houston was sloppy with the ball. The Rockets turned the ball over 20 times in the game.

Tony Parker had just two points in the game, but Patty Mills added 14 of the bench. Kawhi Leonard hit tough shots down the stretch on the way to 18 points. The ageless wonder Tim Duncan added 29 points and 10 rebounds and was a force in the middle.

Even with the Rockets shooting themselves in the foot from the line and with turnovers, Houston still had a chance. James Harden got the shooter's roll on a three late to bring the game with one. A Manu Ginobili turnover gave the ball to the Rockets with 6 seconds left. Of course, James Harden was given the ball to win the game. The beard drove to basket with only Tim Duncan in the way. Duncan got a piece of the ball and all of Harden's arm. There was no call.

The Spurs head back to San Antonio with their tenth-straight win and the Rockets fall to the sixth place in the West.

Full recap and analysis of tonight's game to follow.