The Rockets opened December with a super uneventful trip to San Antonio.
Conrad already wrote a great piece focusing on the revenge aspect of the matchup in regards to the missed dunk. Instead of rehashing a terrible decision by the officials that was compounded by a worse decision not to review the play that was followed by the Rockets blowing a lead and the game, I’ll focus on the teams since the game in question.
While Houston has played six games in the interim and are 4-2, the Spurs have only played three games in that time frame. The Houston game actually started a string of four straight overtime games for the Spurs. They are 3-1 in those games, the most recent being a two-point victory over the Phoenix Suns in Mexico City. The Spurs are now just a game out of the playoff picture in the West, to the surprise of no one who’s watched the Spurs over the last 20 years.
San Antonio still has a ton of depth and the key for Houston will be their ability to handle the minutes where Russell Westbrook runs the second unit as James Harden rests. Dejounte Murray is no longer on a minutes restriction and Jakob Poeltl will look to build upon his 15-rebound, 5-block performance against the Rockets on December 3.
What tonight comes down to is that no matter how much Rockets fans, players, or coaches want this to be a revenge game, it’s important for the Rockets to win this one because they need to win to keep pace with the rest of the top teams in the Western Conference. After all, Houston’s beef isn’t with the Spurs but is with three incompetent referees. The Rockets cannot afford to lose sight of the bigger picture here. With Luka Doncic missing the next few weeks and the Mavericks playing their next four games against top teams in the East, the Rockets could solidify themselves with a good run through the end of December. That starts tonight against their I-10 rivals.
Tip-off is at 7pm CT