Season 51, Game 29
San Antonio 109, Houston 124
19-10, 3rd in the West
Tonight Kawhi Leonard played in his second game of the season and his 400th in the NBA. The Spurs lost.
Still, Kawhi has more wins (306) in his first 400 games than any other player in NBA history.
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) December 16, 2017
That says as much about the Spurs’ level of excellence as it does about Kawhi’s these last six plus seasons.
Other than Kawhi’s milestone, there’s not much else to say about this game.
When ESPN switched over from the Thunder-Sixers triple overtime game, the Spurs trailed by 15. The Spurs lost by 15.
In other words, the Spurs-Rockets game most of us watched was played to a draw.
Looking at the statline, this game was worse, and better, than it appeared.
Worse? The Rockets starters outscored Spurs starters 97-36. Ouch.
Better? The Spurs bench outscored the Rockets bench 73-27. Nice.
LaMarcus Aldridge, Danny Green, Pau Gasol, and Tony Parker shot a combined 12-of-35. (Kawhi was 5-of-9 in his first game of the season.) Dreadful, but Houston deserves credit for their tenacious defense.
Bryn Forbes, Patty Mills, Brandon Paul, Davis Bertans, and Joffrey Lauvergne shot a combined 23-of-34. Impressive.
Coach Pop limited Kawhi’s and Tony’s minutes and went 12 deep in this game.
In the long run, limited minutes for starters, and more minutes for Forbes, Paul, Murray, Bertans, and Lauvergne could (should?) pay big dividends in the playoffs.
Despite James Harden’s comments after the game, I think he and his team had something to prove Friday night. The Rockets had lost to the Spurs in their last three regular season match-ups. And this was the first time the teams played since last season’s game six playoff massacre
These teams play three more regular season games: February 1 in San Antonio, March 12 in Houston, and April 1 in San Antonio.
Go Spurs Go.