Houston Rockets vs San Antonio Spurs Preview

By Michael Ma

Dec 25, 2013; San Antonio, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) moves the ball up court ahead of San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (behind) and Tim Duncan (21) during the second half at AT

After struggling in back-to-back losses to the Memphis Grizzlies over the weekend, the Houston Rockets find themselves hosting southwest division leading San Antonio Spurs. The Rockets have won both regular season matchups so far; here are the keys for a 3rd straight win.

Get Back To Winning Ways

Offensively, the Rockets were dismal in the two games against the Grizzlies, and the pace that the Spurs play with may help with getting back on track, despite their good defensive numbers. In the two previous wins, the Rockets have averaged 111.5 points, shot over 48 percent from the field, and 46 percent from behind the arc.

Calling For A Superstar

Both James Harden and Dwight Howard were pretty much no-shows over the weekend. Harden went for 28 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists in the last matchup against the Spurs on Christmas, while Howard dominated the paint, adding 15 points and pulling down 20 boards. Limiting both Tony Parker and Tim Duncan were also a factor, as Parker was held to just 6 points on 3 of 11 shooting, and Duncan only managed to score 11 points. With Patrick Beverley now back in the lineup, how well he defends Parker will be the key.

Shortened Bench

Injuries continue to plague the Rockets’ bench, as Omer Asik, Greg Smith, and Francisco Garcia are all likely out once again. The Spurs, on the other hand, go in with the NBA’s top scoring bench, led of course, by Manu Ginobili. Both Omri Casspi and Jeremy Lin have been the main contributors off the bench lately; one of them must have a big game for the Rockets to win.

Tip: 7 PM CT

TV: CSN Houston, NBA TV