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by: Kris Gardner, United States Basketball Writers Association member. Credentialed media member since 1997. USBWA approved online journalist. Voter of Katrina McClain, Naismith, USBWA, and Wooden awards.
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Rockets lose to Spurs, 111-106
POSTED: February 7, 2021 -- 8:42 a.m. CT
HOUSTON, TX (Toyota Center) -- The Houston Rockets lost to the San Antonio Spurs 111-106 Saturday night. With the win tonight, the Spurs win the season series over the Rockets 2-1 and snap a five-game losing streak in Houston.
The loss is just the third time the Rockets have allowed 110 or more points over the past 13 games after doing so seven times the first nine games of the season. Houston is 2-8 when opponents score 110+ points this season.
The game was tied at 2 and at 7 before the Spurs went on a 9-0 to take a 16-7. Houston trailed 23-14 before Eric Gordon made back-to-back three-point baskets during a 9-2 run to cut Houston's deficit to 25-23 with 46.3 seconds left in the 1st period. However, the Spurs scored the final 4 points in the quarter to lead 29-23 after 12 minutes.
The Rockets (11-11) trailed by 12 (41-29) with 7:09 remaining in the second quarter. Danuel House Jr made a three-pointer to start a 7-0 run; but, the Spurs (13-10) pushed the margin to eight (44-36).
Houston outscored San Antonio 11-5 to get within 2 (49-43) with 3.3 seconds remaining. But, Houston had a breakdown on defense which enabled San Antonio guard Patty Mills to score a layup to beat the halftime buzzer.
The Rockets trailed the Spurs 51-47 at halftime.
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The Rockets trailed 58-49 in the third quarter when John Wall scored 5 points to start a 10-4 Houston run; but, once again, the Spurs responded. San Antonio went on an 8-0 run to lead 70-59 with 4:47 to go in the third quarter.
Houston's deficit grew to 13 points (82-69); but, Wall, once again, brought the Rockets back. After David Nwaba made a three-point shot, Wall closed out the quarter with 3 free throws and a layup to slice Houston's deficit to 84-77 after three quarters.
San Antonio forward Rudy Gay made a three-pointer to begin the fourth quarter; and, Houston trailed by 10 (87-77) with 11:29 remaining.
The Rockets went on a 12-3 run to trail 90-89. The Spurs answered the run and pushed the lead 98-93. Victor Oladipo split two free throws; Eric Gordon sank a three-pointer before splitting 2 foul shots; then, Wall hit a pull up jumper for a Houston's first lead of the game (100-98) with 3:29 left in the ball game.
The lead was short lived. Twenty-eight seconds later, San Antonio's Jakob Poeltl made two free throws to tie the game at 100. Then, DeMar DeRozan was fouled after pulling down a defensive rebound. DeRozan made both free throws for a 102-100 Spurs' lead.
On Houston's next possession, Eric Gordon penetrated the Spurs' defense and passed to Danuel House as House made a beeline to the hoop. House banked in a tough layup to tie the game at 102.
DeMar DeRozan went to work for the Spurs again: DeRozan made two more free throws then, after a missed three-point attempt by House, DeRozan converted a three-point play for a 107-102 Spurs' lead with 1:03 remaining.
Houston did not get closer than three points in the final 63 seconds.
DeRozan finished the game with a game-high 30 points; and, he added 8 rebounds and 7 assists.
John Wall led the Rockets with 27 points and 7 assists. Eric Gordon scored 26 points off the bench and added a season-high 7 rebounds.
David Nwaba had 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting after missing the previous three games due to injury. Nwaba has scored 10 or more points in four of his past six games played and is averaging 11.2 points per game on 60.9% shooting over that span.
DeMarcus Cousins recorded his fourth double-double of the season with 12 points and a game-high tying 11 rebounds. He has scored 10 or more points in five of the past eight games after doing so once over his first 11 games as a Rocket. Cousins played 30 minutes tonight. Cousins has played 20 plus minutes seven times this season and has grabbed 10 or more rebounds in five of those games.
Danuel House Jr had 12 points and 5 rebounds off the bench.
The Rockets' next game is Monday, February 7, on the road, against the Charlotte Hornets. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. Central Time.
The Rockets lost despite holding the Spurs to 42.5% shooting and 8 threes made on 32.0% shooting. Houston falls to 8-3 when holding the opposition below 45.0% shooting this season. Opponents are shooting 32.6% from behind-the-arc over the past 13 games after shooting 38.1% the first nine games of the season.
Houston made 12 three-pointers in the game on 31.6% shooting. The Rockets are 10-2 when making 13 or more threes in a game this season and 1-9 when making fewer. Houston is 3-8 when shooting 33.3% or worse from behind-the-arc. The Rockets shot 41.8% from long range over the previous four games.
The Rockets outrebounded the Spurs 46-44. Houston has outrebounded its opponent in three of the past four games after doing so once the eight games prior. The Rockets fall to 6-2 when outrebounding their opponent this season.
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