Recap: Rockets vs. Spurs 04/10/2015
Harden's Last Second Attempt Falls Short, Spurs Win 10th Straight
The Rockets dropped their first home game to the Spurs since December 2012 with a 104-103 loss. Houston has lost three straight to the Spurs since winning this season’s opener and San Antonio extended its current winning streak to 10.
The Rockets opened the game on a 12-0 run led by eight points from Trevor Ariza. The Spurs didn’t score their first points until an Aron Baynes bucked with 7:43 left in the quarter.
San Antonio fared better in the second as they started on a 6-0 run to trim the Rockets’ lead to just one. Kawhi Leonard had a go-ahead layup attempt, but it rolled out and the Rockets responded with their own 6-0 run, ultimately grabbing a two-point halftime lead.
The Spurs tied the game at 64 behind a big third quarter from Leonard. Trevor Ariza answered with two huge threes to keep San Antonio at bay just long enough for them to resort to intentionally fouling Josh Smith. Smith went just 3-10 from the line in the quarter and Patty Mills gave the Spurs their first lead of the game with a three.
Trevor Ariza answered yet again in the fourth to get the Rockets within two with just over nine minutes left. Ariza finished with 19 points on 4-5 3PT – his 17th game this season with four or more 3PTM.
However, the intentional fouls returned and Josh Smith was able to hit 9-16 FT in the fourth to keep it close. Smith led the Rockets with 20 points on a career-high-tying 12 free throws made.
“We believe in Josh, man. He's going to make those. We are not worried about it. If they've got to do that to beat us, oh well," Corey Brewer said.
With the Spurs up one and seconds to go, James Harden took it to the basket and was met by Tim Duncan. Duncan got a hand on the ball, no foul was called and the Spurs walked off with the win.
“Gotta finish. I've just gotta finish," Harden said.
Harden finished the game with 16 points and 10 assists, good for his 20th double-double of the season, but he went just 5-19 from the field. Duncan, on the other hand, was 12-15 for 29 points.
“It's over with. We've got to get ready for the next one. They played better as a team than we did and that's why they got the win. No excuses. Our main job is to get stops,” Dwight Howard said.
With the loss, the Rockets fell from the second seed in the West down to the sixth seed. But with three games to go and just half a game separating the second through the sixth seeds, playoff positioning is still very much in the air.
The Rockets host division rival New Orleans Sunday at Toyota Center.