Fred VanVleet got the night off for rest, while Jalen Green is still nursing a minor toe injury, so rookies Amen Thompson and Cam Whitmore got the start, and they were at the helm for Houston getting punched in the mouth in the first quarter, falling behind 32-13 in the first frame, a deficit from which they never fully recovered. The Spurs also jumped out to a big lead in the first game between these teams, and although Houston bounced back in that one, these slow starts are obviously an item of concern heading into the regular season.
Thompson finished his night with 5 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal and 1 block in 21 minutes, while Whitmore played 30 minutes and tallied 17 points, 6 rebounds and a whopping 6 steals, but he shot just 4-for-15 from the field. I have no idea what Ime Udoka has in store for Whitmore to start the season. He’s been such a mixed bag of incredible athleticism and poor shot selection that I think he needs a little more seasoning, but there’s no doubting the oomph he brings to the team.
Houston was led in scoring by Jabari Smith Jr., who continues to look like a new man. He put up 20 points and 5 boards on 7-for-14 shooting, while Jeenathan Williams tallied 19 off of the bench for the Rockets.
The Spurs got 25 points and 5 threes from Devin Vassell to lead their squad, while Victor Wembanyama put up 15 points, 6 boards and 2 blocks depsite missing all five of his first half shots.
The Rockets will play their final preseason game tomorrow night against the Miami Heat before opening up the regular season on October 25 on the road against the Orlando Magic.