The San Antonio Spurs decisively ended their two-game losing streak as they routed the Houston Rockets on Monday night in a matchup between the last-place teams in the Western Conference. While a single game is all that separates them in the standings, the divisional foes looked lightyears apart on the court.
Over-dribbling, finger-pointing, and head-scratching shot selection from Clutch City played in jarring juxtaposition to a Gregg Popovich team that unselfishly passed the ball around the horn. That all-around team effort gave the Silver and Black an edge, but a game-high 26 points from Devin Vassell vaulted them to victory.
Devin Vassell began the game on a heater, strolling into a wide-open catch-and-shoot transition three that kissed the back of the rim on its way through the basket.
Dev for threeee! @Yvngdevo pic.twitter.com/N8BwfPNO4X— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) December 20, 2022
Although Jakob Poeltl is still finding his rhythm after missing two weeks with a bone bruise, he caught Alperen Sengun flatfooted and attacked the basket off the bounce.
Jak gettin' fancy with it pic.twitter.com/Fd3LHyuaOZ— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) December 20, 2022
The Spurs poked holes in Houston’s swiss cheese defense all night long, and Vassell drove and kicked the ball back out to Kieta Bates-Diop for an above-the-break triple.
Dev with the find, KBD with three! @Yvngdevo | @KBD_33 pic.twitter.com/o8ydsOoG7X— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) December 20, 2022
Tre Jones hasn’t been the most willing long-distance shooter this season, but even he got in on San Antonio’s three-point party with this contested jumper over Sengun.
TR3 JON3S! pic.twitter.com/U1hVAT8VLM— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) December 20, 2022
The Silver and Black dominated on the break inside the Toyota Center, pushing the pace and moving the ball around until Malaki Branham broke free for a reverse layup.
Our guys are hoopin' ‼️ @MalakiBranham pic.twitter.com/H35b9FeoOf— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) December 20, 2022
Jeremy Sochan showed off his scoring repertoire in the second quarter, bamboozling K.J. Martin with a textbook up and under for an uncontested finger roll.
.@JeremySochan with the moves pic.twitter.com/QW0WjiDsnQ— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) December 20, 2022
Stanley Johnson has been a pleasant surprise since signing with the Spurs, coming up with hustle plays like this chase-down block off the backboard to erase two points.
❌ DENIED!!! ❌ pic.twitter.com/JI8KB0zhEX— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) December 20, 2022
Malaki Branham stole the ball from Jabari Smith Jr. with a beautiful one-handed dig before patiently probing the defense and dishing it out for a Doug McDermott trifecta.
the steal!!! the threeee!!! pic.twitter.com/1GRCz2MlKt— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) December 20, 2022
Johnson made his presence felt in his first extended minutes, nailing a buzzer-beating three that sent San Antonio into halftime with the momentum swinging in their favor.
Johnson at the buzzer!!! pic.twitter.com/jk9C9eJPXP— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) December 20, 2022
Tre took the basketball coast-to-coast off an inbounds pass and spun it off the glass with an inside-hand finish after Houston failed to pick him up as he sprinted past the timeline.
.@Tre3Jones went turbo pic.twitter.com/YulePlzEKG— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) December 20, 2022
Despite entering the evening shooting 20.8% from beyond the arc, Romeo Langford contributed to the long-distance barrage, confidently stepping into a straightaway three.
ROM3O! pic.twitter.com/AiyzBaXU6L— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) December 20, 2022
Doug McDermott also had a hot hand on the perimeter on Monday night, curling around a dribble handoff and knocking down a three-ball with K.J. Martin draped all over him.
Raining McBuckets ☔️ pic.twitter.com/WajetGeS8z— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) December 20, 2022
Vassell was fantastic from end to end, and the third-year guard made something out of nothing with a sidestep three to beat the shot clock after a last-second play broke down.
DEV BEATS THE CLOCK! ⏰ pic.twitter.com/g0pljJnAjG— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) December 20, 2022
Sochan was in the right place at the right time, trailing the breakaway enough to get a clean look at a massive put-back slam when Houston rejected Tre at the rim.
SOCHAN WITH SLAM @JeremySochan pic.twitter.com/chOn0us8rP— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) December 20, 2022
And as always, here are the full game highlights.