Notebook: Spurs 134, Rockets 126



Posted Dec 11, 2012 12:20 AM

By Matt Miller, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: Tony Parker's first career triple-double was just enough for the San Antonio Spurs to stave off a valiant effort from the James Harden-less Houston Rockets.

Parker posted an eye-popping stat line of 27 points, 12 assists and 12 rebounds to carry the Spurs to a 134-126 overtime victory over the short-handed Rockets on Monday night at Toyota Center. Gary Neal scored a career-high 29 points on 11-for-18 shooting, while Manu Ginobili added 22 points, six assists and five boards for San Antonio (18-4), which has won five consecutive games overall and 10 of its last 11 on the road.

Jeremy Lin recaptured his "Linsanity" form, pacing Houston (9-11) with a season-high 38 points on 11-for-21 shooting to go with seven assists. Omer Asik recorded his fifth double-double in the last eight games, finishing with a career-best 21 points and 10 rebounds. With leading scorer Harden watching from the sidelines due to a sprained right ankle, the Rockets lost their third consecutive game.

QUOTABLE: "Tony Parker, all night long, kept us in the game just with his floor play. On both ends of the court, he was magnificent."
-- San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich.

THE STAT: Three nights after the Spurs never trailed and led by as many as 33 points in a 114-92 beatdown of the Rockets in San Antonio, the two clubs duked it out in a rollercoaster ride that featured 11 ties and 15 lead changes. Ironically, Harden poured in 29 points on 10-for-16 shooting in the blowout defeat and never stepped on the court during Monday's thriller.


TURNING POINT: Lin and Toney Douglas combined to net the Rockets' first nine points of the fourth quarter to stretch Houston's lead to 105-96 with 9:59 left to play. The Spurs responded by limiting the Rockets to only one field goal over the next five minutes, as they ripped off a 14-2 run to grab a 110-107 advantage. The back-and-forth battle continued into overtime until veteran-laden San Antonio finally put away the inexperienced Rockets with a 10-4 spurt that gave the Spurs a 130-124 lead.

QUOTABLE II: "It's hard to put into words right now. It's frustrating because it's the second game in a row when we had a big lead in the fourth quarter and let it go away. ... When we get down and they go on runs, we're not going to give up. But it is so frustrating losing games that we have in our control."
-- Houston forward Chandler Parsons.

HOT: Both teams lit it up from the perimeter during the first half, combining to drain 14 of 27 (51.9 percent) 3-point attempts. After missing their first three attempts from behind the arc, the Rockets closed the half by nailing nine of 12 (75.0 percent) shots from long distance.

NOT: Saddled by foul trouble and locked down by defensive stalwart Asik, Tim Duncan delivered one of his worst offensive performances in recent memory. The Big Fundamental misfired on eight of nine shot attempts.

GOOD MOVE: Duncan appeared to have Asik boxed out as the pair of centers battled for a rebound less than two minutes into the third period. But Asik made a crafty move to shift into a position in which he could draw Duncan's fourth foul of the game. Duncan did not return to the court until the start of the fourth quarter.


BAD MOVE: Instead of figuratively punching the Rockets in the mouth at the onset of the game, as San Antonio did in Friday's blowout victory over Houston, the Spurs looked sluggish in the early stages of Monday's win. With San Antonio lacking the necessary amount of intensity to put the inferior team on its heels, Harden-less Houston gained confidence as it built a 10-point first-half lead.


QUOTABLE III: "I've had a 17-year career, and I've seen this situation probably a hundred times or more, where a team is lacking one or two of its best players. That team gets on a roll, and they get confident. ... Without pressure, everyone starts making shots. ... It's something you should know, and you talk about it, but it keeps happening."
-- Spurs guard Ginobili.


NOTABLE: Parker is the first Spur to record a triple-double since Duncan finished with 15 points, 18 boards and 11 assists against the Golden State Warriors on Nov. 30, 2010. Parker's triple-double is the 13th in franchise history. ... The Rockets received a scare when starting forward Parsons trotted to the locker room while holding his right arm less than 40 seconds into the game. But Parsons, who was struck on his funny bone, returned a few minutes later and finished the game without restrictions. ... Houston outscored an opponent in the first quarter for the first time in six games. ... Carlos Delfino, who started in place of Harden, shot a dismal 2-for-12 (16.7 percent) from the field. ... The teams shot a combined 30-for-60 (50.0 percent) from 3-point range. The Rockets set a season high and Toyota Center record with 16 made treys. ... San Antonio is the first team in the NBA to reach 18 wins this season. ... Monday's victory snapped the Spurs' three-game skid at Toyota Center. ... San Antonio improved to 13-0 this season when it connects on at least 45.0 percent of its field goals attempts and 14-0 when limiting its opponent to worse than 45.0 percent shooting. ... The Spurs are averaging 32.3 assists over their last four games, dishing out at least 27 dimes in each of those four contests. ... Houston fell to 3-10 this season against Western Conference opponents. ... Rockets guard Douglas has netted at least 10 points in a season-high four straight games. ... Houston has lost five consecutive overtime decisions dating back to last season.

UP NEXT: For the Spurs: Wednesday @ Utah, Thursday @ Portland, Saturday vs. Boston. For the Rockets: Wednesday vs. Washington, Friday vs. Boston, Sunday @ Toronto.