The San Antonio Spurs fell just short on their furious comeback against the Rockets on Friday night in Houston. After falling behind by 19 early in the 3rd, the Spurs fought all the way back, establishing a 6 point lead with 5 minutes to go before ultimately succumbing to a barrage of threes. The Spurs have now lost 2 in a row on the heels of a season-best 9 game winning streak.
Bryn Forbes paced the Silver and Black with 20 points, while Derrick White added 18 and DeMar DeRozan chipped in 16 to go with his 8 rebounds and 8 assists. But the story of the night was James Harden’s 61 points, setting a new Spurs’ opponent scoring record.
- The Spurs moved Rudy Gay back into the starting lineup after 6 straight games of coming off the bench. Given the danger of a 2nd big getting targeted by Harden, the change made a lot of sense from a match up perspective and appeared to work in practice, though Rudy’s minutes were limited by foul trouble.
- Harden owned the game. He set several new marks on his way to the opponent scoring record, including most points in a quarter, with his 27 in the 1st, and most in a half, with 37.
- Lonnie Walker IV saw some early run, checking in with less than a minute to go in the 1st. He stayed on the floor for the first 6 minutes of the 2nd as well, and had a few impact plays, chalking up 4 points, a rebound, a steal, and a nice block on Nene.
- The Spurs, led by LaMarcus Aldridge, threw a bit of a block party for the Rockets. There were several candidates for block of the night, but for my money, Aldridge’s block on Clint Capela with just over a minute to go in the 2nd quarter was the most fun. Capela tried to bully LaMarcus, taking a power dribble and slamming his shoulder into LMA’s chest to create space for a layup. LaMarcus was knocked backwards but undeterred and still recovered to swat Capela’s shot.
- Derrick White had a heck of a 3rd quarter. He fought his way through screen after screen to get back to Harden. He also began pressuring the Rockets’ ball handler in the back court, which appeared to have a positive impact. Along with a concerted full team effort, the Spurs held the Rockets to just 19 points in the quarter. On the other end, White scored 10 points, leading the Spurs back from a 19-point deficit early in the frame to tie the game on a Jakob Poeltl tip in with less than a second left in the quarter.
- It will likely go unnoticed, but Bryn Forbes did far better handling Chris Paul one-on-one than should be expected. With the defense tilted toward Harden, Forbes more than held his own.
For the Rockets fans’ perspective, visit The Dream Shake.
The Spurs travel to Boston for the 2nd game of their 3-game road trip on Sunday. Tip-off will be at 6:30 PM CST on FSSW.