HOUSTON — With the Houston Rockets trailing by eight with 6:18 left in the second quarter, Christian Wood drilled a side-step triple over the top of Jakob Poeltl.
The basket accounted for three of Wood’s 15 points at the half, but his blazing start to the night failed to set the tone for the Rockets, as Houston sustained a 126-98 loss to the San Antonio Spurs, Friday night, inside the AT&T Center.
With the loss, the Rockets ended the preseason with a 1-4 record and will open the 2021-22 season against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday. The Timberwolves ended their preseason schedule with a 3-1 record.
Wood’s performance against the Spurs was his best outing of the preseason, as he recorded a double-double of 19 points (8-15 FG, 1-3 3PT) and 18 rebounds in 33 minutes of play.
Alperen Sengun was the only Rocket who matched the production of Wood amid Houston’s wire-to-wire loss. The 19-year-old Turkish native received his first career start in place of the injured Daniel Theis and recorded a double-double performance of his own with 15 points and a dozen boards.
But nearly every dilemma that plagued the Rockets in two of their first three preseason games resumed in San Antonio.
The Rockets’ defense was again a significant issue, as they allowed the Spurs to shoot 46.9 percent from the field. Outside of their preseason opener against the Washington Wizards, the Rockets had another disastrous night shooting from deep, as they connected on just six of their 33 3-point field goal attempts.
And in addition to their abysmal 3-point shooting, the Rockets had another inferior night taking care of the ball. Houston committed 14 total turnovers, which converted to 24 points for the Spurs.
A portion of the Rockets’ offensive issues came from the early struggles of Kevin Porter Jr.. He had a rough night finishing at the rim before ending the game with 16 points shooting 6-for-20 from the field in 33 minutes.
Rookie guard Jalen Green could not pick up the slack for Porter, as his inefficient 3-point shooting resulted in 16 points on 4-of-12 shooting from the field, 1-for-6 from deep. Houston’s young backcourt scored a combined nine points in the first 24 minutes, as the Rockets trailed 65-49 at the half.
The Spurs had six players who scored in double figures in their blowout victory against the Rockets. Dejounte Murray and Derrick White led the way with 20 points apiece, while Doug McDermott added 16 points while nailing four triples in the win.