There was a sense of a playoff atmosphere all night as the Houston Rockets found themselves in an absolute dogfight with the San Antonio Spurs. Fortunately for the Rockets, they had a seemingly healthy James Harden to carry them to a 112-106 win after blowing a 23 points lead in the first half. Harden scored 16 of his 31 points in the 4th quarter, and the Rockets made some key defensive stops in the final minute to wrap up a tough fought win.
The fireworks didn’t begin until the second quarter when the Rockets came out scorching hot, going on a 25-6 run that opened up a 55-32 lead. After Gregg Poppovich called a time-out to put his starters in, Tony Parker would explode for 10 straight points that helped bring the Spurs within 11 points. But just as the buzzer sounded to end the first half, Poppovich was called for a technical foul after being irate with Rockets coach Kevin McHale, who he thought stepped on the court during the Spurs final possession.
Whether Poppovich had a case or not, it would eventually light a fire in the Spurs. After committing just 5 turnovers in the first half, the Rockets turned the ball over 8 times in the 3rd quarter, and an 18 point lead mid-way through the period, would disappear. A couple of 3′s from Matt Bonner and Marco Belinelli, followed by Parker scoring 7 straight points helped bring the Spurs within just 83-80 heading into the 4th quarter.
Belinelli would continue to knock down outside shots, scoring the first 10 Spurs points in the 4th quarter. Harden would match his efforts, making two tough floaters in the lane, followed by a 3-point play from Terrence Jones to tie the game at 96 with 3 minutes left. A seesaw affair would then ensue.
|Dwight Howard, PF||35||4-6||0-0||5-8||2||9||11||1||0||0||2||4||+5||13|
|Terrence Jones, PF||31||4-10||1-2||1-1||4||12||16||1||1||0||2||1||+11||10|
|Chandler Parsons, SF||40||9-21||4-8||3-4||0||3||3||5||2||1||3||3||+5||25|
|Patrick Beverley, PG||37||4-10||3-5||0-0||3||3||6||5||3||1||0||3||+11||11|
|James Harden, SG||37||10-19||3-5||8-13||1||6||7||6||1||1||3||1||+3||31|
|Omri Casspi, SF||17||4-8||0-3||0-0||0||3||3||1||0||1||0||1||-5||8|
|Omer Asik, C||13||1-2||0-0||1-2||1||2||3||1||1||0||1||0||+1||3|
|Aaron Brooks, PG||16||1-8||0-3||1-2||0||2||2||4||3||0||4||3||0||3|
|Francisco Garcia, SG||14||3-6||2-4||0-0||1||2||3||0||2||0||1||2||-1||8|
|Greg Smith, PF||DNP SPRAINED RIGHT KNEE|
|Donatas Motiejunas, PF||DNP COACH’S DECISION|
|Ronnie Brewer, SF||DNP COACH’S DECISION|
|Jeremy Lin, PG||DNP|
Fast break points: 25
Points in the paint: 42
Total Team Turnovers (Points off turnovers): 17 (13)
|Tim Duncan, PF||33||8-13||0-1||4-5||1||7||8||3||1||3||2||2||-4||20|
|Boris Diaw, PF||11||2-3||1-1||0-0||0||2||2||0||0||1||1||0||+3||5|
|Kawhi Leonard, SF||29||3-8||0-3||0-0||1||3||4||1||2||3||1||1||-6||6|
|Tony Parker, PG||38||13-27||0-2||1-2||0||6||6||8||0||0||2||1||-1||27|
|Danny Green, SG||25||3-8||1-5||0-0||0||2||2||1||3||1||1||1||-8||7|
|Matt Bonner, PF||23||2-5||2-4||0-0||1||2||3||2||0||0||0||3||-6||6|
|Tiago Splitter, C||17||2-3||0-0||2-4||1||2||3||0||0||1||3||3||0||6|
|Patty Mills, PG||10||0-2||0-1||2-2||0||1||1||0||0||0||0||1||-5||2|
|Marco Belinelli, SG||27||7-13||4-6||0-0||0||3||3||1||0||0||1||5||-9||18|
|Manu Ginobili, SG||27||4-9||1-3||0-0||0||1||1||11||2||0||4||2||+6||9|
|Aron Baynes, PF||DNP COACH’S DECISION|
|Jeff Ayres, PF||DNP COACH’S DECISION|
|Cory Joseph, PG||DNP COACH’S DECISION|
Fast break points: 17
Points in the paint: 58
Total Team Turnovers (Points off turnovers): 15 (11)
The Spurs would implement the Hack-A-Howard, but Dwight Howard was able to make 4 out of 6 free throws to give the Rockets a 102-101 lead with 2 minutes left. A Manu Ginobili 3-pointer, and a Tony Parker layup on back-to-back possessions would give the Spurs a 106-103 lead.
In case people forgot why James Harden was voted by NBA GMs as the best shooting guard in the league, he would step up to prove it. Harden would deliver with a 3-pointer from the left wing over the outstretched arms of Belinelli, Patrick Beverley tipped in a missed Harden shot with 31 seconds left to give the Rockets the lead again, 108-106, and a Belinelli missed 3-pointer lead to a Harden rebound and outlet pass to a streaking Chandler Parsons that lead to an easy dunk to seal the Spurs fate.
Harden added 6 assists and 7 rebounds along with his 31 points to lead the Rockets. Parsons finished with 25 points and 5 rebounds, Dwight Howard added 13 points and 11 rebounds, while Terrence Jones finished with 10 points and 16 rebounds.
Parker led the Spurs with 27 points, 8 assists, and 6 rebounds, Tim Duncan finished with 20 points and 8 rebounds, and Belinelli added 18 points off the bench.