Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs @ Houston Rockets

No, we just can't pass up a chance to run this picture as often as it's even mildly relevant. - Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The final regular season matchup between the two Texas teams who are actually headed to the playoffs (sorry about that Mavs fans ... wait, no I'm not) is tonight. The Spurs are at the top of the NBA's west bracket and the Rockets are toward the bottom, but you can throw out the records when these rivals play.

San Antonio Spurs vs Houston Rockets

Toyota Center
March 24th, 2013, 6:00pm Spurs Time
TV: FSSW- RADIO: 1200 AM WOAI

Tonight will be the 70th game of the season, which means there are only 13 games until the playoffs. And now that Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili have had, recovered from, and returned after their injuries, we are finally in that final Stretch Run to the postseason that every year comes down to. The team is relatively healthy, and the only question is how well can Pop put everything together in this last baker's dozen worth of games that will solidify the playoff picture.

And tonight, the Spurs visit the Houston Rockets who are first in the league in points scored at 106.5 per game, but are also 28th in points allowed. Kevin McHale has worked to integrate James Harden and Jeremy Lin in the same backcourt, and they tally nearly 40 points and 12 assists and per game, but that's not even half of their offensive story. They're toward the top of the league in offensive efficiency, effective and true shooting percentages, fast break points, points in the paint and free throws drawn. Their only weakness seems to be their propensity to turn the ball over. Let's hope that the Spurs don't match that last stat with them tonight this evening.

With Utah fading from the playoff picture, Houston is in a tight three-team race for the 6-8 seeds, which means that there's a good chance that San Antonio will match up with them in the post season. The Rockets currently sit one game behind the sixth place Golden State Warriors and a game and a half ahead of the Lakers. They're coming off a casual crushing of the Cavaliers on Friday night, so the home team should be well rested.

The Spurs have been playing improved basketball recently, but it still took them an extra five minutes to get past the visiting Jazz on Friday. But with Duncan currently playing like it's 2005, and Kahwi Leonard looking like he's ready to join the Big Three in terms of his importance to the team, it's an exciting time to be a Spurs fan. As you know, I don't do predictions, but since the Spurs just swept the season series with Mavericks for the first time since the wheel was invented, it would be pretty cool if they did the same with the Rockets too. I honestly don't think those two events have ever happened in the same year before. Anyone want to prove me wrong?

Lineups

Starters
PG: Tony Parker
SG: Danny Green
SF: Kawhi Leonard
PF: Tim Duncan
C: Tiago Splitter

Key Bench Players
Manu Ginobili
Boris Diaw
Stephen Jackson

Head Coach
Gregg Popovich

Lineups

Starters
PG: Jeremy Lin
SG: James Harden
SF: Chandler Parsons
PF: Donatus Motiejunas (apparenlty)
C: Omer Asik

Key Bench Players
Carlos Delfino
Greg Smith


Head Coach

Kevin Mchale


The Rockets perspective can be found at The Dream Shake, whose preview of the game is here.

Get your San Antonio Spurs tickets here!

Game Prediction: whatever you think it is.

As always Tony must dominate Fisher, and NBA league pass is recommended for those who are willing to pony up the cash. Almost every Spurs game 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.

Thanks to Fred Silva for his help in getting this preview started and taking care of the lineups.

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