Houston Rockets vs San Antonio Spurs game preview - December 8

N.B. Lindberg
San Antonio Spurs v Houston Rockets
San Antonio Spurs v Houston Rockets / Alex Bierens de Haan/GettyImages
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A surprising 5-5 stretch over the past ten games, with wins against the Phoenix Suns and Philadelphia 76ers, has the Houston Rockets at 7-17 and has seen them move up to the fifth-worst record in the league. Their other three wins over the stretch haven’t been against cupcakes either, as the Atlanta Hawks and Dallas Mavericks occupy playoff spots, and the Oklahoma City Thunder are 11-14. 

A 2-12 start to the season sent the fanbase into a panic, but a quick look at the schedule should have squashed those concerns. The Rockets have played exactly two of their 24 games against teams with losing records, and they’re 2-0 in those games. They’ve beaten the teams they should beat, lost to the teams they should, and taken a few scalps along the way. That brings us to the San Antonio Spurs and their December 8 matchup with the Rockets.

Part of the reason Rockets fans were so despondent in the opening stages of the season was due to the early season success of the Utah Jazz, Indiana Pacers, and San Antonio Spurs. The Jazz and Pacers have been surprises, but they probably shouldn’t have been. The expectations were lowered for both based on the assumption that they would trade away key veterans, which they haven’t. The Spurs, on the other hand, did shock the world with their 5-2 start. 

Fortunately for Rockets fans, and unfortunately for Spurs fans, the Spurs regressed to their mean and have gone 1-13. They’re dead last in both offensive and defensive rating, leading to a league-worst -11.6 net rating. The Spurs are the worst team in the NBA by a significant margin and have the fourth-worst margin of victory in NBA history. The Rockets, for the first time all season, should be heavy favorites to win. These are the stats to know, player to watch, and X-factors in the Rockets' December 8 matchup with the Spurs.