The win tonight continues an impressive 12-game win streak for the Rockets. To put that in perspective, Houston has not lost since the Astros won the World Series, which seems like eons ago at this point.
The Rockets never trailed and Houston blitzed the Spurs early in the first quarter, outscoring San Antonio 31-16 in the opening frame. The lead ballooned to as much as 28 points with 6:10 left in the second quarter. The Spurs were able to close the half on an 11-3 run to cut the lead to 17, but the Rockets were still very much in the driver’s seat for the entirety of tonight’s contest.
As a unit, Houston was clicking from the jump, and it was smooth sailing for the most part. Chris Paul and James Harden both had a team-high 28 points apiece. The two combined for 14 assists, 8 for CP3 and 6 for the Beard. The most eye-popping statistic between the backcourt was Paul’s seven steals. He certainly strutted his defense and flexed his All-NBA Defensive First Team status tonight.
Another person I want to single out tonight is Ryan Anderson. Ryno made five of his eight shots tonight, two of three from downtown for 12 points. He also had a quiet double-double with 10 rebounds. Six of his 10 boards were on the offensive end, which led to second-chance points. There was one play in particular in the fourth quarter where Capela misses a dunk, Anderson leaps for the board from the Rockets bench, and it lands in the hands of Harden, who sinks a three. I watched the play in utter disbelief, the most pleasant surprise was Anderson’s hustle from the sideline.
If the Rockets are going to play without Luc Mbah a Moute for a few weeks, Anderson is going to be one of the players looking for a larger role. He certainly filled those shoes tonight on the boards and it was incredibly promising to watch that effort from him tonight.
For the Spurs, LaMarcus Aldridge led the team with 16 points but was out of his rhythm for majority of the evening. Kawhi Leonard played just 17 minutes in what was only his second game back from injury, as he scored a dozen for the Spurs.
Speaking of a dozen, that’s where the Rockets’ win streak stands. The team is now over the halfway mark towards the franchise record of 22, set back in 2008. Tonight’s win proved that Houston is one of the toughest, if not the toughest, out in the league. If the Rockets are en fuego, nobody can put out the fire. Houston is in control of their own destiny, and that is a beautiful thing.
Houston has a quick turnaround as they face the Bucks tomorrow night back at the Toyota Center. Tipoff is at 7 PM CT.