The San Antonio Spurs, amid the injuries and all the losses, found a way to end their losing streak against the Houston Rockets with an emotional and much needed 110-106 win. Their opponents got the normal output from James Harden and Dwight Howard, but maybe moving Josh Smith into the lineup wasn’t such a good idea.
After Smith made an impressive debut for his new team coming off the bench in the win over the Grizzlies, finding himself in the lineup didn’t seem to do him or his team a world of good. The bad shots kept coming, the plays he disappears off somewhere on defense came and went. In short, just as the Pistons are finding out without him, having Smith on the floor is sometimes like playing with just four players when his head isn’t in the right place.
The Spurs played with Patty Mills for the first time this season but got through with this win mostly thanks to Danny Green with 24 points and five steals, Tim Duncan with 16 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocks, Tiago Splitter doing some great things on defense and Cory Joseph in the lineup with 14 points, six assists and one huge three pointer. Manu Ginobili scored 15 points off the bench as the Spurs won for only the second time in eight games, ending a six-game losing streak to the Rockets.
While James Harden led his team with 28 points, he wasn’t that effective, turning the ball over nine (!!!) times, and the Rockets were losing by 14 points when he was on the floor, as his decision making seemed to get worst as the game dragged along. Dwight Howard scored 24 points to go with 17 rebounds, but was only 2-of-7 from the line. Trevor Ariza continues to show there is such a thing as better shooting on a contract year, going 2-of-9 from the field and 1-of-6 from beyond the arc. He’s shooting just 36% from the field this season.
Corey Brewer was a solid ray of sunshine with 25 points including six 3-pointers, but overall the Rockets’ defense and decision making on offense plus simply not making open shots proved to be an excellent set up for the Spurs to take advantage of, looking more fragile than ever in their current state and yet coming away with a win against previously a red hot, very confident and improving team.