This is going to be quicker than usual, so hold on to any loose fitting clothing and keep all limbs inside the vehicle.
So, we finally got a road win. How about that? It wasn't easy, but it finally happened.
This game got off to a very ugly start for our heroes. The Spurs couldn't hit anything for the first few minutes, and the score went from tied at 0 to 5-0 to 10-3 in favor of the Rockets very quickly. But the Spurs hung in there and started playing better defense towards the end of the first quarter, and never let up after that. They chipped away at the lead in the second quarter, then took it back when they started the 3rd with a 14-0 run. After that, they seemed to hit cruise control, which got them in trouble towards the end of the game. Houston cut it to a 3-point lead at one point, before Richard Jefferson hit some clutch free throws, and George Hill was even more clutch, going sky-high for a rebound in traffic then hitting his free throws with a bloodied nose from a hard foul as he came down with said rebound.
As predicted, Aaron Brooks and Trevor Ariza had terrible shooting nights, going a combined 11-37. Luis Scola was absolutely destroying us, but Adelman sat him the entire 4th quarter for some reason. It's a complete mystery to me why you would sit your leading scorer and rebounder, who also happens to be shooting better than anyone on your team, when the game is on the line. Good one, Rick - you're just playing possum for the next game against us, right?
Coming into tonight, the Spurs were taking 21 attempts from three-point range per game. Tonight, they only attempted 3 threes. This is actually a testament to how quick the Rockets' perimeter defenders were in closing out on our shooters. Kudos, Houston defense. On the other end, Houston shot 8-18 from three. That's too high, Spurs.
As good as they were at chasing us off the 3-point line, there's only so much an undersized frontcourt can be expected to accomplish against the Combo of Tim Duncan and Antonio McDyess. Along with Tony Parker, Timmy and Dice carried the load on offense tonight. Honorable mention to Dejuan Blair - The Beast was hampered by foul trouble, but still managed 7 points and 5 rebounds in 10 minutes of play.
The refs were pretty inconsistent tonight. On one series, they would call silly touch fouls, but then the next time down the floor, someone would get completely mauled and not get the call. It was weird, but it seemed to go both ways. Now that I've said that, the free throw disparity was huge: 34 for us and 14 for them. That's the difference in the game, right there.
Also, our overall team defense was excellent in this game, despite some momentary lapses. The Rockets shot 35.9% in the game, and despite what the Houston TV announcers said, it wasn't because they were missing easy shots. They weren't missing layups by accident - those layups were being contested, every single time.
Your 3 Stars
Antonio McDyess: Dice finished with 15 points, 14 boards, 2 steals and a block. He and Timmy were also contesting everything in the lane(Scola did a lot of his damage against Bonner, FYI). It's safe to say he's picking up the system pretty well. I love what Dice brings to this team.
Tony Parker: Tony quietly finished with 19 points and 7 assists. The 4 turnovers had more to do with the Houston defense than it did with Tony's decision-making. Good game for the Frenchman.
Tim Duncan: The man just refuses to give any credence to the media "storyline" about how old and washed up he is. 21 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 blocks.
Oh, and one final note, from a guy who probably would have kept this game from being as close as it was.
manuginobili Probably the best win of the season so far. Great job against a tough team on the road.