Season 51, Game 67
San Antonio 93, Houston 109
37-30, 10th in the West

That sound you’re hearing isn’t the San Antonio Spurs hitting rock bottom. It’s the sweet sound of free fall, which is only cool if you have a parachute and a plan. Or if you’re on a trampoline. Maybe a bungee cord, but that looks like it hurts, not to belabor the point.

No, what happened versus the Houston Rockets on Monday night wasn’t rock bottom – it was like getting hit by a large eagle on the way down. Even at full strength, San Antonio would have had the odds stacked against them facing the top seed in the Western Conference . Without LaMarcus Aldridge, Kawhi Leonard, or even Manu Ginóbili, the Spurs never stood a chance.

Or maybe they did, James Harden still wasn’t himself for the first half of the contest. Still, San Antonio was unable to capitalize while its star players sat, and went into the half trailing by 11 points. On the other side of the break, Harden looked more like the MVP candidate we all remember. He wasted no time in scoring 16 points, ballooning the Rockets’ lead to 21 by the end of the third frame.

By the time it was over, the Spurs dropped from 7th to 10th in the Western Conference standings, which is on the wrong side of the playoff picture. Fun fact, this is the first time since 1996-97 that the Spurs were on the outside looking in this late in the season. Well, maybe “fun” isn’t the right word.

If there’s anything positive to take away from this one, it’s that Bryn Forbes and Derrick White got significant minutes – 24 and 18, respectively – and made the most of it. Each player scored 14 points and shot 50% from the field, while San Antonio’s starting shooting guard du jour, Patty Mills, logged only eight minutes.

This, I imagine, is causing Spurs Twitter to claim that San Antonio would have won at least five our six more games if only White had eaten into Mills’ minutes sooner. But if you came here indulge in that kind of fantasy, sir or ma’am, you came to the wrong place.

So what’s next? Well, the Spurs don’t have much time to dwell on this one. They have a home date with the Orlando Magic on Tuesday night, in what we’d call a must-win game. Luckily, the Magic have lost four in a row and sit in 14th place in the Eastern Conference.

The Spurs lost their first game of the season against this very same Orlando team. A second loss to the Magic, well, that could certainly be rock bottom.

San Antonio tips off at 7:30pm Central.

Go Spurs Go.

Photo credit: David J. Miller/AP Photo