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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Houston Rockets vs San Antonio Spurs: Player to watch

The San Antonio Spurs are light on players capable of striking fear into the hearts of NBA opposition, and it looks like they will be down two key players, Devin Vassell and Jeremy Sochan, against the Rockets. If the Spurs are going to beat the Rockets, they’re going to need a big night from Keldon Johnson. 

Johnson has been eased into the NBA in traditional Spurs fashion. Each season he has seen his role and minutes increase, but in year four, he has finally hit the wall. Johnson hasn’t been poor this season, but he was able to increase his efficiency and shooting volume in his second and third seasons. This season, he’s averaging a career-high 20.4 points per game, but it’s coming on a career-low 47.3% effective field goal percentage.  

Johnson’s inefficiency doesn’t prevent him from having big games, he has two 30-point games, but it does mean that preventing him from getting hot will be vital for the Rockets. The Spurs’ next two leading scorers, if Vassell isn’t healthy, are averaging 12.9 and 12.0 points per game. 

When Keldon Johnson has had a big game, it’s because of hot 3-point shooting. The Rockets need to make sure he does not get comfortable or clean looks early in the game. If they’re able to do that, the Spurs really don’t have much offensive firepower to worry about.