Rockets Offense Blast Spurs

By: Andrew Zimmel
The San Antonio Spurs came into last nights game after stealing a win against the Atlanta Hawks and the big man duo of Paul Millsaps and Al Horford. With a test against one of the NBA’s best big men in Houston Rocket’s Dwight Howard the Spurs would need more than a few runs. With Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan sitting out for “old age” and Patty Mills, Tiago Splitter, and Marco Belinelli all sitting out for various injuries, a marquee matchup with the defending champions and a young and upping coming Rockets team.
With a starting lineup that included Tony Parker, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Matt Bonner, and Aron Baynes the Spurs looked a little worse for wear compared to the All-Star cast of Howard and James Harden. With the first quarter ending in a three point Rockets’ advantage the Spurs still had a chance to make a comeback, but that didn’t last for long. With almost a twenty point lead going into halftime, the Rockets had a commanding hold onto the game that they did not relinquish. With no interior defense, Houston had a decided advantage down low and exploiting it almost everytime down the court feeding Howard over and over again. Whether on the pick-and-roll, at the elbow, or on alley-oop passes, Howard was the target and had a double-double – 20 points and 12 rebounds – by halftime as he exploited a vulnerable Spurs interior defense where the likes of Bonner, Baynes and Jeff Ayers. The exterior defence was not much better allowing scoring machine James Harden to shoot 8-15 for 20 points.
The biggest contributor thought to the Spurs tough loss was the lack of offensive power that was show time and again in last years Finals. Shooting a year worse 34% from the field and 10% (2-20) from behind the arc, a place where Spurs sharpshooters have blossomed in past years. The brightest offensive light was third year guard Cory Joseph who scored 18 points off the bench. “It was a bad night tonight and {we} couldn’t hit a shot,” Tony Parker, who finished with just six points, said. “Defensively, we did OK, but we never got into an offensive rhythm.” With the win last night Houston stretched it to six consecutive times they have beaten the Spurs and keep a league leading 6-0 start to the season.
The Spurs play another dominant big man this Saturday against Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans in the AT&T Center.

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