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Houston Rockets Fall to Spurs in Preseason Finale

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The Houston Rockets ended their preseason on the road Friday, with a 111-86 loss to the San Antonio Spurs, in the AT&T Center.

. 86. 169. 111. 29

From the start of the first half, it was clear that the Rockets and Spurs are ready to start the new season. The Rockets’ offense got off to a sluggish start, trailing early in the first quarter 10-2 to the Spurs.

It was not until James Harden scored a desperation three-pointer shot from nearly half court to spark the Rockets’ offense. Behind Harden’s 11 points and 5 assists in the first quarter, the Rockets were able to come back and tie the Spurs at 30 apiece.

During the start of the second quarter, Corey Brewer picked up the scoring slack for the Rockets as Harden took to the bench. Scoring eight of his 12 points, Brewer helped the Rockets take a 44-38 lead early in the second quarter.

Houston’s offense was clicking in the first half, shooting 47 percent from the field, and 40 percent from behind the arc.

However, it would be the Rockets’ defense that struggled to slow down LaMarcus Aldridge and Danny Green. Combining for 35 first half points, Aldridge and Green gave the Spurs a 58-55 lead heading into the half.

After a close start to the second half, The Rockets defense continued to struggle. The Spurs shot 53 percent from the field in the third to take a 85-70 lead over Houston. Some say that injuries and foul trouble cost the Rockets a chance to make a comeback after the third, because it left Houston to play a small lineup.

We are in San Antonio, but Harden shot this one all the way from Houston. https://t.co/ofIzfMV8qg

— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) October 24, 2015

With the Rockets down by 19 in the fourth, Kevin McHale cleared his bench to give his backups some reps. Among the bench players was Rockets’ center Joshua Smith. With the Rockets cutting their roster down to 16 players before the start of the game, this was Smith’s last chance to make that final spot. In Seven minutes, Smith failed to grab a single board, but managed to scored four points from inside.

The Spurs dominance continued as they outscored the Rockets 26-16 in the fourth, before sending Houston home with their fifth loss of the preseason. Both Aldridge and Green had 19 points for San Antonio, while Harden led Houston with 17. The Rockets will tip-off the 2015-16 regular season Wednesday night, when they tip off against the Denver Nuggets in Houston.

Kevin McHale: Post Game 10/23/15 https://t.co/piV0EpyZXp via @houstonrockets

— Space City Scoop (@SpaceCity_Scoop) October 24, 2015

Key Notes:

Although it is early, the injury bug has bitten the Rockets to start the season. With Donatas Motiejunas, and Dwight Howard still recovering from their injuries, hopefully Ty Lawson is not added to that list. After starting the first half, Lawson did not return in the second half due to his back tightening. Rockets’ trainers said Lawson’s injury is nothing major, and should be ready to start the season.

With 17 points, 8 rebounds, and 9 assists, James Harden is ready for another MVP caliber season. Appearing in five preseason games, Harden averaged 16.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 3.6 assists. Do not be alarmed by his low averages in rebounds and assists, its preseason, of course he is going to pick those numbers up. However, after a good preseason and putting in hard work, Harden is ready for another great season.

Corey Brewer is ready to become a solid contender for Sixth Man of the Year. In the Rockets’ six preseason games, Brewer averaged 14.4 points off the bench, and scored 14 points in Friday’s night loss. If Brewer can transition his preseason play into the regular season, along with Patrick Beverley, the Rockets will have an awesome bench for the season.

Brew finds TJ. #Pursuit https://t.co/EPa3A9rKxz

— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) October 24, 2015

If Kevin McHale decides to limit Dwight Howard’s minutes throughout the season, Clint Capela and Terrence Jones should have no problem picking up the slack. Throughout the preseason, both Capela and Jones have proven that they can play significant roles as the Rockets’ big men.

In Friday’s loss, Jones scored 10 points and grabbed 8 rebounds against the Spurs. Although Capela did not have a great game, his near double-double of 9.2 points and 10.2 rebounds for the preseason will be a great addition to the Rockets this season. However, with fingers crossed, Dwight Howard should have a healthy and dominant season. If so, The Rockets will have one heck of a season!

Counting down to opening day of the 2015-16 regular season make sure you catch up on our Team Preview Series and our Houston Rockets Player Profile Series as well as our SCS Round Table Sessions prepping you for the October 28th tip-off and as always stay with Space City Scoop for all things Houston Rockets.

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