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) /
2 of 3
Houston Rockets
Houston Rockets Danuel House (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Starters

Guard. Houston Rockets. JAMES HARDEN. A. In a night of few bright spots, James Harden, as usual, was once again the brightest. The Beard, along with everyone else, got off to a slow start. Harden was settling for the longball too often early on, even when matched up one-on-one with the likes of Jakob Poeltl. He also was not drawing the usual fouls he’s used to getting, as Gregg Popovich seemed to have his team well-prepared not to bite on his tricky offensive maneuvers. The second half was a different story, however, as Harden started getting to the line more often and began lighting up the Spurs from the outside. A good portion of his 40 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists came in the fourth quarter against San Antonio’s reserve unit, so despite his stat-line, Harden doesn’t quite get an A+.

C -. After four great preseason games, Clint Capela had a humbling night on Wednesday. Whether it was jet lag, a bad night or just simply being outplayed, the Swiss Center struggled on both ends of the floor. Capela was a step slow on offense, failing to catch on a few passes inside from Westbrook and Harden that he usually catches 95 percent of the time. His six rebounds were just about all he did well defensively, as LaMarcus Aldridge had an unusually efficient night against him no matter where he shot from. For Clint, it seemed to be just one of those nights.. Center. Houston Rockets. CLINT CAPELA

D. After a couple of good performances since his Oct. 8 debut, Russell Westbrook was bound to have a night where everyone starts questioning whether he’s gonna work or not in Houston. Believe it or not, that’s exactly what happened after his performance in the preseason loss. While that take is ridiculous, this game did show what Russ needs to improve on for Houston to succeed. Westbrook’s aggressiveness is often positive but other times can be detrimental to the team. Getting three fouls in the first six minutes of the game certainly wasn’t ideal and neither was running a one-man fast break against four San Antonio defenders only to get blocked. Russell finished with 14 points and eight turnovers, ending the night with a minus-26 when he was on the court. As the season draws near, Westbrook will need to make a few adjustments against good defenses such as what the Spurs offered on Wednesday.. Guard. Houston Rockets. RUSSELL WESTBROOK

C +. P.J. Tucker played the second-most minutes in the game but never really made his presence felt. Tucker didn’t make a field goal until the third quarter when he buried a three from the top. He also appeared a step slow on defense, but then again so did everyone else. Tucker ended the night with five points on 1-for-6 shooting, with five of those attempts being from 3-point range. At least he didn’t turn the ball over?. Forward. Houston Rockets. P.J. TUCKER

B +. One of the positives that came out of Wednesday was the Danuel House and Eric Gordon swap. Still figuring out his rotation, Mike D’Antoni started House and saw both players do well in their new roles. House did most of his damage in the first quarter with a strong driving layup followed by a corner three. While he only finished the night with seven points, Danuel also helped out on the glass with seven boards and took care of the ball well.. Small Forward. Houston Rockets. DANUEL HOUSE

Next: The Bench