Player grades from the Houston Rockets’ 128-114 loss to the Spurs

Houston Rockets James Harden (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets James Harden (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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While the Houston Rockets had a rough night against the Spurs, they learned some things that could affect the rotation for the coming regular season.

Maybe it was jetlag, maybe it was the Spurs desperate to get on track or maybe every Rocket was still on Tokyo time, but the Spurs were all over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday. San Antonio started off shooting a blistering 62.2 percent in the first half and connected on four of their eight shots from downtown.

Houston, on the other hand, started off shooting just 41.9 percent and was 9-of-26 from the outside. LaMarcus Aldridge and the Spurs used 32 points in the paint to take a 65-51 lead into the locker room.

After James Harden caught fire in the third quarter, the Rockets cut the lead to 10 at one point but eventually reverted back to their bad first-half habits. San Antonio extended their lead all the way to 25 before a fourth-quarter rally made the score closer than the game actually was.

The Rockets got a taste of what could happen when an opposing big man goes off, as Aldridge scored 22 points in 22 minutes, shooting 11-of-13 from the field. While discouraging at the time, the good news is Mike D’Antoni was able to see this early on and can use this to strategize for future similar situations.

Houston also faced the toughest combination of backcourt defenders they’ve seen so far this preseason in Dejounte Murray, Lonnie Walker and Derrick White, which can only serve to help the team prepare for even tougher defenses going forward.

After all was said and done, D’Antoni’s Rockets learned a lot from the matchup with their Southwest Division rival and may have figured out some key rotation strategies in their 128-114 loss.

Here’s the breakdown of who stood out and who struggled on Wednesday.

Next: The Starters