Game Preview #42: Houston Rockets @ San Antonio Spurs

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I'd forgotten how much fun bubble wrap is, until today when I got a water bottle wrapped in the stuff. I defy anyone to not immediately start popping the bubbles and getting a huge smile on your face. Sometimes the simplest things are the most fun. Maybe the Spurs can start playing basketball again like that tonight. Simple, yet smile producing.

Since there is no way I'm going to top silverandblack's preview, I'm not going to try.

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Houston Rockets @ San Antonio Spurs
Where: AT&T Center - San Antonio, TX
When: January 22, 2010, 7:30 PM Spurs time
Watch: FSNSW (SA), FSNHOU (Hou)

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How They Stack Up
17-7 Home 13-5
8-9 Road 10-13
101.0
Offense 100.6
95.6 Defense 100.3
48.0 FG% 44.4
38.2
3-pt% 34.1
73.7
FT% 76.2
42.4
Rebounds 42.3
13.5
TOs 13.8
5-5 Last 10 5-5
Lost 1
Streak Won 1
2nd, Southwest Position 3rd, Southwest

Country/Time Zone Game Time
Argentina 10:30 PM
Rainy Land
5:30 PM
Philippines 9:30 AM
Central Europe 2:30 AM
Palestine/Egypt 3:30 AM
East Coast 8:30 PM
Sun and Snow
6:30 PM
Perth, AUS 9:30 AM
Tokyo, JP 10:30 AM
Sydney, AUS 11:30 AM

Spurs
(25-16)
Matchups

Rockets
(23-18)

Tony Parker
Needs Rest

Point Guard

Tony is definitely hurting, but he faces almost his mirror image tonight. Both Parker and Brooks use their quickness to score in the paint. Neither is a stout defender. This matchup is pretty even.

Advantage: Tied


Aaron Brooks
Speedy

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Manu Ginobili
Do-It-All

Shooting Guard

In his role with the Rockets, Ariza has become more of a scorer, but he still has a well-rounded game. However, Manu is the original jack of all trades, who keeps getting better this season. The white box goes to the ARGENTINE!

Advantage: Spurs


Trevor Ariza
Lanky

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Richard Jefferson
????

Small Forward

I can't figure out RJ. He's inconsistent and still hasn't fit into the system. Tonight, he faces the consummate system guy. Battier just goes to work every night and gets the job done. He would be a perfect Spur.

Advantage: Rockets


Shane Battier
Can't believe he's a Dookie

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Tim Duncan
Another Record

Power Forward

Scola is a heck of a player. He combines physicality and skill. But Luis is going against Timmeh tonight. And Timmeh is coming off a bad game. He should be raring to go. Plus Duncan only needs 1 point to get 20,000 for his career, not that he cares.

Advantage: Spurs


Luis Scola
Would have looked good in the S&B

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DeJuan Blair
No More Dunks

Center

Talk about two guys with similar games. Both are undersized, but for once, neither will have a height disadvantage tonight. This should be an interesting matchup - the one who can take advantage might be the key to the game.

Advantage: Tied


Chuck Hayes
Not really a center

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George Hill
Most Improved

Bench & Role Players

Houston has some hard-nosed players - just ask Dirk's arm. If Hill starts again, then the bench play is probably a wash, but for now I'll give the white box to BAM.

Advantage: Spurs


Carl Landry
Doesn't need teeth

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Gregg Popovich
Bring back the Beard

Coach

Pop is Pop, but Adelman's coaching job over the last few seasons has been superb. Even though Houston is down its two "best" players, the team continues to compete at a high level.

Advantage: Tied


Rick Adelman
Coach of the Year
images via yahoo.com

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Other Factors

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Intangibles

The Spurs are at home, but the Rockets are not a bad road team.

Advantage: Tied

Mojo

The Spurs were pwned by the Jazz. Hopefully, that'll be a kick in the butt they need. However, the Rockets are the prototypical team, who never give up. And it's a division rivalry

Advantage: Rockets

Winner:

The Spurs should come roaring out of the gate, after that showing against the Jazz. But Houston scraps better than any other NBA team and never lacks in effort.
Prediction: On paper, the Spurs are the better team, but the game is played on the court. Houston in a close one.

Keys To The Game

  • Shot Selection - In the last 3 losses, the Spurs have shot poorly. Some of this is due to missing wide open shots, but most of it has been poor shot selection. Missing dunks and layups is also not acceptable.
  • Clean up the Mess - Sloppy offensive ball returned, with waaaay too many turnovers. This is a team-wide problem that needs serious attention.
  • Man the Paint - Remember when the Spurs' played defense? I don't. Seeing the Jazz waltz through the lane, scoring with ease, was sickening. Bring back the physicality, boys.

Strength of Schedule

This is the second game of the homestand, following a day of rest.

The Rockets last played on Monday, beating the Bucks at home. I'll never understand the NBA schedule.

Last Time They Met

The Spurs and Rockets last played on November 27, winning 92-84 on the road. Timmeh had a monster game, and Manu was still sidelined. We shot 26-34 from the line. A repeat of that stat would be nice.

Some Other Reading

Jazz

The Dream Shake - The masthead reads "Will trade McGrady for food, shelter." They're both crazy and funny - good stuff.
Red94 - This is the TrueHoop network blog for the Rockets. Massive, stat laden posts.

Spurs

48 Minutes of Hell: Best damn TrueHoop affiliate out there. Always a must visit Spurs site.
Project Spurs: Features live chats, call-in shows and podcasts (in Spanish too), with lots of content.

Where to Tune In

TV

This game will be aired by FSNSW in San Antonio and by FSNHOU in Houston. If you have cable or satellite, you'll have to look up your individual channel. And of course, there's always League Pass for the haves. For the have nots, read on.

Online

As always, NBA League Pass is recommended for those who are willing to pony up the cash. Most Spurs games will be broadcast there, which is especially helpful for those of us who aren't in the San Antonio area.

Please don't post links to illegal game feeds in the game thread. Links to illegal feeds are not permitted on SBNation, but you can probably find them out there on the internets if you're resourceful and desperate. In fact, nobody can stop you from googling "atdhe". You can also shoot an email to dmenendez@gmail.com for more assistance.

NBA League Pass audio is still free this year, so check it out.

Radio

If you're in the San Antonio area and aren't near a TV, tune in to WOAI (1200 AM).

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