The Rockets fell to the Spurs in San Antonio Sunday afternoon by a score of 100-83. The loss snapped an 11-game winning streak for the Rockets and gave the Rockets their first loss in a little over three weeks.
This was also the lowest point total for the Rockets all season. Their previous low was 89 points back in October in a loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.
Houston played without Chris Paul today but needed more than just CP3 if they wanted to win this one. The shooting performance from Houston was one of the worst this season. The team failed to make a triple in the first quarter and ended up shooting just 34.2 percent from the floor throughout the entire game. From behind the arc, the team shot 23.3 percent. It’s hard to win games shooting those percentages.
The Rockets shot poorly but something that needs to be credited is San Antonio’s stingy defense. The Spurs guarded the perimeter extremely well and forced the Rockets to drive inside, where they came to find Pau Gasol and/or LaMarcus Aldridge protecting the rim, making any layup extremely difficult. Perhaps CP3 would have diagnosed the defense better than Harden would have, but it is difficult to tell exactly how the game would have gone if Paul had played. One thing that is safe to say is that the Rockets missed him in this one.
The Spurs led mostly by single digits for majority of the contest, which gave the Rockets a way back into it. The Spurs led by a single point, 39-38, with 2:50 left in the second quarter. By halftime, the Spurs led 46-38 and the Rockets did not make another field goal until 9:05 left in the third quarter.
The Rockets were simply never in control of the tempo and pace of the game and the Spurs forced the Rockets to play their game. It worked for the Spurs. They needed a win today, and they got it.
As far as the box score goes, James Harden led all scorers with 25 and Clint Capela put up 11 points and grabbed 10 boards for a double-double. On the Spurs’ side, Aldridge made 11 of 19 shots, good enough for 23 points and Rudy Gay had an impressive display with 21 points off the bench on an extremely efficient 9-13 shooting.
In hindsight, this game does nothing for the Rockets in terms of standings. They had the top seed before this game and leave this game with that title intact. And despite some questionable moments, every player is leaving the game with their health intact as well. The game did expose some of the Rockets’ weaknesses however, and hopefully the Rockets will use these final five games to iron those kinks out.
Their next chance to start a new streak comes Tuesday as the Wizards come to town. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. CT.