After two games of highlights and excitement for the San Antonio Spurs, they played more like a preseason team in a 99-89 loss to the Houston Rockets. While the Spurs rotation players had a largely positive game, the end of the bench allowed the Rockets to outscore them 36-13 in the fourth quarter, blowing the 76-63 lead San Antonio built in the first three periods.
Zach Collins led the way for San Antonio, posting an effective stat line of 18 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 1 block in 22 minutes of play. Amen Thompson led the way for the Rockets, scoring 15 points on 6-13 shooting from the field.
- With no Victor Wembanyama or Devin Vassell, there was a clear void in the scoring department. Collins stepped up, dominating the low post and hitting a few three-pointers. He was far and away the best player on the court for either team, impacting the game on both ends.
- With Tre Jones taking the day off, the Spurs once again took a by-committee approach to facilitating duties. Collins was their main initiator in the half court. Jeremy Sochan and Cedi Osman brought the ball up on most possessions. Sochan had a nice stretch in the third quarter where he looked like he settled into the role, scoring via back cuts on quick give and go’s. Osman looked more comfortable with the ball in his hands. Sochan finished the game with 13 points and 4 steals. Osman scored 9 points and added in 7 rebounds and 2 assists.
- It was Keldon Johnson’s first game of the preseason, and he looked like a player who has taken another step in his development. Johnson put up 11 points, 4 assists and 2 steals. He backed up his comments on improving his defense. His off-ball rotations were crisp, and he had a nice block coming from the weak side.
- This was a sloppy game from both teams. The Spurs turned the ball over 18 times, while Houston turned it over 16 times (that’s 34 total turnovers for those who are asking.) Often times a block or a turnover would be answered with another turnover or errant shot. Especially the fourth quarter when the Rockets went on their big run. It was a preseason game through and through.
- The Spurs were abused on the glass and in the paint against Miami in their last contest. They corrected that against Houston. The Spurs were only out rebounded by 2, and out rebounded them offensively 10-8. They blocked 9 shots and gave up just 34 points in the paint. Collins and Osman were particularly good at protecting the paint.