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San Antonio vs. Houston, Final Score: Spurs comeback falls short as Rockets win 101-99

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The Spurs lost their third straight home game despite a great effort from Kawhi Leonard and the rest of the Spurs as they almost overcame a triple double from James Harden as he led the Rockets to a hard-earned win in San Antonio.

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The Spurs only lost one game at AT&T Center last season, but tonight they lost their third in a row at home and dropped to 5-3 for the season.  The Spurs, especially Kawhi Leonard, played well on offense, but failed to get key stops when they were needed at key points in the game. Danny Green's return helped the Silver and Black to keep the score close, and Kawhi had a chance at the end to tie the score which just fell short as time ran out.

Game flow:

The game started with an easy Capela dunk. The next three points of the game were scored by Ryan Anderson, who got an open look and canned it.  Kawhi hit a pair of free throws to open the scoring for the good guys, and then Gasol got into the act with an assist for Patty Mills and a layup of his own. Kawhi got going with a three and the Spurs had an 11-10 lead. Harden answered with an open three to give the Rockets a 2 point lead. The Spurs offense looked decent, but the breakdowns on defense that have been an early season hallmark of the Spurs play this season continued.

Danny Green hit his first triple of the season and his next shot went halfway down and rattled out.  The Spurs' perimeter defense began to pick up, but the Rockets kept up their efficient scoring.

After the break the Spurs kept their bench in, and Manu did Manu things.

The second quarter ended with a furious series as Harden hit three free throws with 29 seconds left, the Spurs had a bad offensive possession bailed out with a long three from Kawhi.

But Ryan Anderson hit a three as time expired to stake the Rockets to a 63-60 lead.

The third quarter started out well for the good guys, but defensive breakdown allowed Harden to get repeated drives to the basket. The Spurs used to have a guy who anchored the defense at the rim, but he doesn't seem to be there this season, If you've seen him, could you ask him to come to the AT&T center? Midway through the quarter, the Spurs went cold and the Rox built a double digit lead with 2 minutes left. But Manu and Jonathon Simmons dialed up the defense and created a turnover and a 24 second violation. Laprovittola took a drive right into Nene for a spectacular layup.

The Spurs scored the last six of the quarter and the Rockets led 85-80 after three,

Nico got an early steal to start the fourth, earning a pair of free throws for Simmons, who undressed Clint Capela on the next possession with a slick spin move to drive the lane for an easy two. Then Danny Green stole the ball from Capela and took it to the hole to give the Spurs an 88-86 lead.

But Capela showed he wasn't discouraged as he hit free throws and fast break points, and then got a dunk on an assist from Harden. When Harden made a layup for a 96-90 lead, with just over 7 minutes left to play, Pop called a timeout to regroup.

Patty airmailed a shot off the side of the backboard, but hustled to the rebound and got it to Kawhi for a three-point shot to cut the margin to three. Both teams picked up the defense as they traded stops for the next couple of possessions, Harden broke the ice with a driving layup, and Patty answered.  The Rockets lead was just three with 3:39 left. A  Danny Green steal led to a three on one fast break finished with a spectacular Leonard dunk, But Ryan Anderson answered with a deep three to give the Rox a four point lead. With 1:27 left, Ginobili got called for blocking, but Harden missed both free throws and Kawhi hit a 15 footer to draw the Spurs to within a basket. On the next possession, Patty's defense caused Harden to miss a three badly, but Kawhi's attempt to tie the game with 29 seconds left missed. But the Spurs played good defense on the Rockets and drew an offensive foul from Harden to get the ball back with 5.8 seconds left. Kawhi drove to the basket, and got off a shot through contact, Lamarcus could not come up with the rebound, and the clock ran out. Rockets win 101-99, and the Spurs drop their third straight home game.

Observations:

  • Did Davis Bertans play? Yes, he did, but he didn't have a huge impact on the game.
  • Starting lineup: Danny, Patty, Kawhi, Pau and LaMarcus.
  • David Lee did some great work thoughout the game to keep the Spurs close, getting the tough rebounds and getting shots off in traffic. He's been a very valuable veteran pickup so far for the team.
  • Mike D'Antoni really has the Rockets and James Harden playing well this year. Maybe he is actually a good coach.
  • Harden had 9 assists in the first half. It's like I don't even know him. Harden scored a triple double in the game.  He's always been hard to stop, but now his game is so complete that he's become a real nightmare for the defense.
  • Nico Laprovittola was really active on defense when he played. He's improved incredibly on that end of the floor since his first games this summer.
  • It seems like this team used to have a guy who could make up for defensive mistakes and makes stops at the rim, but I don't think he's here any more. They might miss him a little.

Musical interlude (it's a downer today):


Up Next:

The Spurs play Friday Night at 7:30 against the Pistons at the AT&T Center, hopefully there will be a chance to see Boban Marjanovic play, and maybe a Spurs home win for a change.  Then they play again on Saturday night in Houston against these same Rox in a rematch at 7:00 pm.