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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs at Houston Rockets

The Spurs are still only 2-3 at home this year, but they're a perfect 1-0 in road revenge games! Let's see if they can get one back against Houston after losing to them in San Antonio on Wednesday.

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

San Antonio SpursHouston Rockets

Toyota Center, Houston, TX
Date: 11/12/16, Time: 7:00 PM Spurs Time

A win over Detroit last night helped restore some of the Spurs' ebbing mojo, lifted by Pau Gasol's best performance yet as a member of the team. They'll hope to ride those good vibes up I-10 with tonight's SEGABABA rematch against the Rockets.

Houston got the better of San Antonio on Wednesday behind a big game from James Harden, P.G.. The Beard's become even more of a box score inevitability this season, and another ridiculous stat line is likely in the cards tonight.

Still, there were a number of things that didn't bounce their way in the last meeting, and there are adjustments that Gregg Popovich can make to ensure the result doesn't hinge on a no-call or mucked lay-in at the buzzer.

Small-ball issues

Houston forced Pop to go small for much of Wednesday's game and Pau, who only saw 13 minutes of action, became the odd man out.

It also led to the Spurs being uncharacteristically beaten in the paint. The Rockets outscored San Antonio down low, 48 to 40, and outrebounded them 45 to 39. Part of that may be because the Spurs don't have too many two-way bigs -- one, really in LaMarcus Aldridge, and he simply couldn't get it going offensively. Pop apparently didn't like what he saw in four minutes of Dewayne Dedmon, opting for playing Kyle Anderson or Davis Bertans (who, criminally, didn't take a single shot in 10 minutes of action) at the four.

The Spurs' smaller lineups also suffered a number of breakdowns defensively, mostly because of lack of communication and guys not rotating properly. That's to be expected with a new team adjusting to an even newer set or roles, but Houston's not going to be very forgiving as San Antonio figures it out.

Will Pop go bigger this time around? Is it possible to give Pau more run against Houston's 1-in, 4-out offense? We'll see.

Transition defense

The Rockets got 25 of their 101 points in transition on Wednesday, at times simply heaving the ball down court with the hopes of catching San Antonio out of position. Usually, they did. The Spurs need to be sharper at getting back, even if that means punting the offensive glass a lot of the time.

Slow starts

Poor first quarters have been a trend in the Spurs' losses, but I actually thought the starters were beginning to come together midway through the first quarter against Houston. The defensive rotations looked good, the offense was generating open looks, and they were fixing to go up by three when a Capela got away with a pretty obvious goaltend that resulted in two Houston points the other way. Shortly after that, the Spurs reserves came in and the Rockets built an early lead that held for much of the game.

That wasn't the only thing that didn't bounce San Antonio's way, of course. The league ruled that Kawhi Leonard had actually been fouled on his last shot of the game that would've sent it to overtime, and LaMarcus Aldridge somehow wasn't able to tip in the bunny as time expired.

The Spurs got Tony Parker back yesterday and could be at full strength tonight, depending on Danny Green's status. Verde got the DNP-rest against Detroit, which could mean a welcome return to action as the team attempts to slow down Harden and Houston's potent attack.


San Antonio Spurs

(Record: 6-3)

Houston Rockets

(Record: 5-3)

November 12, 2016

Toyota Center, Houston, TX

7:00 PM CDT



Tony Parker


James Harden

Danny Green*


Corey Brewer

Kawhi Leonard


Trevor Ariza

LaMarcus Aldridge


Ryan Anderson

Pau Gasol


Clint Capela

Vegas line: Spurs by 2.

Game prediction: Spurs by 5.

For the Rockets fans' perspective, visit The Dream Shake.

As always Tony must dominate Fisher.

As always, PtR's Gamethread will be up this evening for those who want to chat through the game. But if you're not able to log in here, you can try the Fanvana app which helps connect sports fans and was created by a fellow Spurs fan. Check out the free app on iOS or Android to discover other Spurs fans and join the live chatter for tonight's game. You can follow PtR's tweet stream directly on Fanvana as the game unfolds.