The San Antonio Spurs (54-12) opened up their three game road trip with a win over their division rivals the Houston Rockets (33-34) on Saturday night. After gutting out a win Friday in San Antonio against the Sacramento Kings, the Spurs were able to execute plays down the stretch and get key stops in the last 2 minutes as they defeated the Rockets 115 to 107.
Tony Parker (21 points) and Manu Ginobili (19 points) led the way for a combined team effort as eight players scored in double figures. Antonio McDyess made a major impact with 12 points and 12 rebounds as he got the Spurs going early.
McDyess began the game by making two of his trademarked 18-foot jump shots from the top of the key as the Spurs began with an early seven to two lead.
Tim Duncan made an inbounds steal then converted a 17-foot jump shot to help the Spurs build on their lead. Matt Bonner came into the game and scored on two straight possessions with two light jump hooks.
Ginobili closed the quarter with an “and-1” contorted layup between three Rockets players. At the end of the first, the Spurs led 36 to 25.
In the second quarter, Gary Neal (10 points) made a 15-foot fade away and then a three pointer with a hand in his face for an early five points. Rockets guard Goran Dragic (10 points) sliced up the Spurs interior defense but his shooters couldn’t make the wide-open shots.
The Rockets went on an 8-0 run to cut the Spurs lead to 50-45 late in the quarter. McDyess grabbed an offensive board and made a put back to stop the run as he became the first Spur in double figures.
The Spurs ended the quarter on a 7-2 run sparked by a Ginobili three pointer and two finger rolls by Parker. The Spurs lead the Rockets at halftime 59 to 49 after the Rockets outscored the Spurs 24 to 23 in the second quarter.
The Rockets started the third quarter with a 5-0 run. Duncan ended the run with a layup from a sneaky McDyess pass. After a Kevin Martin three pointer, the Spurs lead was cut to 61-58 early in the third.
The Spurs lost the lead at the 5:53 mark after leading by 13 points earlier in the game.
Rockets guard Kyle Lowry (13 points) hit a buzzer beating 28-foot three pointer off the glass as the Rockets lead 82 to 81 at the end of the third. The Rockets outscored the Spurs 33-22 in the third.
With 9:01 left in the game; Ginobili sunk a fade way, then Neal hit a running floater as the Spurs took a two-point lead 91 to 89.
With five minutes remaining in the game, Parker hit a clutch three pointer out of the corner to keep Spurs in front 100 to 97.
With two minutes remaining, Duncan scored with a hook shot, then the Spurs got a stop on the other end. Duncan grabbed a loose ball, was fouled and made both free throws as the Spurs maintained a 111 to 107 lead.
With 25 seconds remaining, McDyess grabbed a critical rebound and was fouled. McDyess made both free throws for the Spurs as they increased their lead to 113-107.
Ginobili closed out the game with two free throws. The Spurs scored 34 points in the fourth quarter and allowed the Rockets to score 25. The Spurs executed well down the stretch and made critical stops on the defensive end to close out the victory in Houston.
The Spurs win moved their record to 54-12. The team will fly to Miami for a rematch with the Heat Monday evening.
- The Spurs had eight players score in double figures.
- Defensive woes were a concern throughout the game as Houston scored over 24 points in every quarter.
- Kevin Martin led the Rockets with 28 points.
- After missing Friday’s game for personal leave, Richard Jefferson returned to the starting lineup and scored 10 points.
The game was uglier than the score indicates. That makes me think about how the kind of win counts more in Hollinger's rankings more than the buzzer beater. But then, Spurs have always been the Hollinger exception.
@Dave_McNulla Good point! The casual fan who didn't watch the game would think it was an easy 8 point victory. I put more detail to show that the Spurs were on fire, got cold in the 3rd, lost a 13-point lead and had to fight hard down the stretch to close out the game.