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Rockets can’t hold off Spurs, fall 126-122 in overtime

Houston played better but still fell in defeat.

Houston Rockets v San Antonio Spurs Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images

The Houston Rockets looked a lot better on Friday night, but the end result was another defeat, as the Rockets fell 126-122 in overtime to the San Antonio Spurs. Houston had a chance to close out the game in regulation, but they missed several opportunities, including two missed free throws and a wide open missed three by Jabari Smith Jr. They fell behind quickly in overtime, and with Victor Wembenyama already getting a superstar whistle, that was all she wrote for the Rockets.

They were led by Alperen Sengun, who finished with 25 points, 14 rebounds and 7 assists on 11-for-18 shooting, but he fouled out in overtime and the Rockets missed his presence. Fred VanVleet had 24 points, 8 rebounds and 12 assists, and while he finished 10-for-20 from the field, he was just 2-for-10 from three.

Jalen Green rounded out the top scorers for Houston, as he finished with 22 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists on 10-for-20 shooting. He played with much better energy and actually looked like he might be in for a massive night after scoring 10 points in the opening frame, but there were signs of life from Green nonetheless.

The Rockets continue to miss Tari Eason, as they got next to nothing off of their bench again. Jeff Green had 10 points and Amen Thompson had 4 points and 4 rebounds, but Houston basically got nothing substantial past the starting five.

Jabari Smith looked better from an energy perspective as well, but he continues to struggle with his shot, and he obviously was ineffective in the clutch tonight. He had 13 points and 9 boards on 5-for-16 from the field. He also got manhandled at times bv Wembenyama, who had 21 points, 12 boards and 3 blocks.

Dillon Brooks had 17 for Houston to round out the starters, as the Rockets shot 50 percent from the field but just 25 percent from three and 50 percent from the free throw line. The easy free misses were a big reason the Rockets didn’t win this one. That’s been an issue for this team and needs to get better, stat.

The Rockets return on Sunday with their home opener against the Golden State Warriors. There were positives to take from tonight’s game, but the Rockets are going to need to learn to close these out. This was a win they should have had.