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Houston vs. San Antonio Final Score: Spurs storm back, edge Rockets 135-133

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Lonnie Walker IV exploded for 19 fourth quarter points in a breakout game, leading San Antonio all the way back from a 22-point deficit.

Houston Rockets v San Antonio Spurs Photos by Logan Riely/NBAE via Getty Images

In what is surely an early candidate for Game of the Year, the Spurs came back from 22 points down in the 2nd half to steal a game from the Houston Rockets in double overtime. San Antonio was spearheaded by a 28 point breakout performance from sophomore guard Lonnie Walker IV, which included 19 in the 4th quarter alone and the triple that sent the game to its first overtime. Houston was led by James Harden with 50 points, but shot just 11/38 from the field and 4/20 from 3.

Observations

  • The Spurs started the game with the same line-up for the 2nd straight game in a row. If Aldridge wasn’t out for rest the last two games, the White-Forbes-DeRozan-Gay-Aldridge line-up would surely have gotten the nod the last 3 games. The offense was pretty stagnant with that group out there, with DeRozan ISOing frequently and little movement of the ball from side to side. It wasn’t much better in the second half either, when that same line-up played a part in contributing to a double digit deficit early in the 3rd for the Spurs.
  • Derrick White got the assignment on Harden at the start of the game while Dejounte Murray and Lonnie Walker took turns picking up him up off the bench. Murray and Walker also were responsible for guarding Harden in both overtime periods, with Walker getting the lion’s share of the work.
  • Though the Spurs had issues with turnovers the entire game, they were much tighter with the basketball in the 4th quarter and overtime sessions compared to Houston.
  • A fan yelled, “Nobody wants to see a free throw shooting contest,” as Harden was taking his 6th and 7th free throw attempts in the first quarter:

Harden, who was averaging 14 free throw attempts a game coming into tonight’s contest, shot 15 free throws in the first half alone. He proceeded to get to the line only 9 times throughout the next 34 minutes of gameplay.

  • Staying on the subject of the Bearded One, in one of the more bizarre officiating incidents this year, James Harden had a breakaway dunk after picking off DeMarre Carroll that was not counted after it appeared to have boinked off the rim in real-time. Replay of the dunk showed that it clearly went through the rim, but because of the league’s review and challenge policy, head coach Mike D’Antoni was unable to challenge it.
  • Russell Westbrook felt like an afterthought for much of the game, which is odd after years of dreading him during his heyday in Oklahoma City. Though he managed to get up 30 shots on the night, I found myself forgetting he was even on the court at times. Though he had some moments in the 2nd half, it never felt like he was a complimentary piece of this Rockets team.
  • It cannot be overstated how awesome Jakob Poeltl was tonight. In 41 minutes, Poeltl brought the energy, finishing with a career high 15 rebounds, 5 assists against just 2 turnovers, and for the second time in four games had 5 blocks, none bigger than this swat near the very end of regulation just after Walker tied the game with a deep 3 point shot:
  • 3 point shooting played a big part in helping San Antonio pull this one off. They ended up with 13 makes on 30 attempts, just 2 less than Houston’s 15 makes on 51 attempts.
  • DeMar DeRozan did not have the greatest shooting game and nearly wore goat horns after missing a free throw with 30 seconds to go in the 2nd OT and the Spurs down by 1. After a Harden miss and a fast break, DeRozan found himself at the free throw line with a chance to put redeem himself and put the Spurs up by 1 with two free throws, which he calmly did. He also drew a charge on Harden during Houston’s final offensive possession of the game, essentially clinching the victory:

For the Rockets fan’s perspective, please visit The Dream Shake.

The Spurs are off until Friday night when the Sacramento Kings come to town for a 7:30 CT tip-off.