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16-19 Rockets Destroyed by Spurs in First Game of 2016

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The next generation of Spurs, Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green, and LaMarcus Aldridge, combined for 64 points to hand the Rockets their fourth straight loss.

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The Rockets have struggled this year. You know that. To be more specific, they have had trouble locating shooters and closing out on them. Time and time again, known commodities like J.J. Redick and Eric Gordon have torched Houston from outside.

Tonight it was Danny Green who shot the lights out. He scored 18 points on 6-8 shooting from behind the arc. But he wasn't alone. Kawhi Leonard also poured in 22 points on 8-12 shooting in the 121-103 rout.

Forward LaMarcus Aldridge once again tortured the Rockets to the tune of 24 points and 9 rebounds. Even Boris "BoBo" Diaw got in on the action. The 250 pound Frenchman impressively added 20 points and 8 rebounds in just 23 minutes.

They can beat you in so many ways. With the "new age" Spurs of LaMarcus Aldridge, Danny Green, and Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio dominates with athleticism and conventional post-ups and ball movement. With the "throwback" personnel of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Boris Diaw, the Spurs control the game with creativity and craftiness.

They can blend the two styles by mixing their lineups and they always play a special brand of beautiful basketball with disciplined defense and savvy offensive sets.

For the Rockets, Dwight Howard had another phenomenal game, a good omen for 2016. He followed up his "21 and 13" on Thursday with 22 points and 12 rebounds. In the past three games, Superman is averaging 24.3 points and 13.6 rebounds per game.

As for the second half of Houston's dynamic duo, James Harden had a game analogous for the Rockets' season. He was electric in the first half, scoring 16 points on 6-7 shooting, but was simply awful in the second half. After being completely engaged to start the game, he checked out when things started going poorly. He became passive, started tossing the ball recklessly, and got shut down in the second half.

As Ethan always says, this team is the epitome of "Jekyll and Hyde," and not the awesome fictional blockbuster version starring and directed by Vincent Chase.

Quick Hits

  • The Rockets had no answer for Danny Green all game, especially in the first quarter. He hit his first four three-pointers of 2016 and was responsible for the Spurs' first 14 points.
  • The turnover bug crept into Houston in the second quarter as they committed five turnovers after only coughing up two in the first period.
  • Generally, the Rockets did a nice job getting to the basket with dribble penetration and slashing. They also pounded the ball inside in the post with Howard a few times.
  • Clint Capela got some touches at the free throw line, which was different. He can't really shoot, so he's not much of a threat there, but he had some strong takes.
  • The game wasn't always a blowout. In fact, the teams were knotted up at 65 before San Antonio went on a 16-2 run in the third quarter.
  • Patrick Beverley made a ridiculous one-legged shot falling out of bounds. It will go undocumented because it was so random and meaningless.
  • Ty Lawson had another quietly solid game. He has strung together a nice stretch of basketball lately as he is seemingly settling in. He is playing within himself and deferring to Harden while also selectively looking for his shot.
  • It would not have made a difference, but the Rocket were without Donatas Motiejunas who is dealing with a sore back.

Gifs of the Game