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San Antonio at Houston, Final Score: Rockets squeak out victory, 88-84

James Harden and the Rockets spoiled Christmas for the Spurs.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Spurs opened the game with some brutal shooting. It wasn't until the 7:30 mark that the Spurs were able to log their first points on the board. This keyed a 7-0 run that was capped by a welcome Danny Green triple (!) and brought the good guys back in the game.

The rest of the first half featured both teams trading buckets with neither team garnering a significant advantage. The bench unit -- in particular Simmons and Diaw -- provided some great energy and effort to kickstart the offense. Simmons had three assists and a pretty fastbreak layup in a mere six minutes of action.

The Spurs did a great job of closing out the first half, in large part to Kawhi's defense. Leonard blanketed the entire court by interrupting passing lanes, snagging rebounds that Houston did not mean for him to snag, and contesting any and all shots. By the end of the second quarter, Leonard had 11 points, 5 rebounds, 4 steals, a block, and an assist. Dude is special. Houston, a team with the 9th best offensive rating in the league, was held to 13 second quarter points and the Spurs led 43-38.

The second half was one of the Spurs' worst of the season. Green and Leonard were able to hold Harden to 1-6 shooting in the first half, but that was bound to end at some point. Harden got going and sparked several Houston runs. Each time Houston threw what seemed to be the knockout punch, the Spurs got up and begged for one more. Harden knocked down two back-to-back threes, which, along with some terrible Spurs late-game execution, were the daggers to end the game.

Keep your eye out for Chris Itz's full recap, coming up later tonight.

The Spurs return home to finish the second half of their SEGABABA against the Nuggets.