PREVIEW: Spurs at Rockets- March 5

Mar 4, 2023; San Antonio, Texas, USA; Houston Rockets teammates Joshg Christopher (9) and Kevin Porter Jr. (3) celebrate during the second half of a game against the San Antonio Spurs at the AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Meullion-USA TODAY Sports

PREVIEW: Spurs at Rockets- March 5

The Rockets will look for a season split with their I-10 rivals when they host the San Antonio Spurs in the second game of a home and home back-to-back on Sunday night at Toyota Center. Eight Rockets scored in double-figures as they ended an 11-game losing streak with a 122-110 win in San Antonio on Saturday.

Eye on the Spurs

Record: 16-48 (14th in Western Conference)

Offensive rating (rank): 109.5 (28th)

Defensive rating (rank): 119.4 (30th)

The Spurs had won back-to-back games after losing 16 in a row and 21-of-22 before Saturday’s loss to the Rockets. They played without their top two scorers, Keldon Johnson, and Devin Vassell, and it’s unclear if either will be able to play in Sunday’s rematch. The Spurs are going to miss the playoffs for a fourth straight year for the first time in franchise history and appear to be headed to a 50-loss season for the first time since 1997, though they are 2-1 against the Rockets this season. One bright spot for the Spurs in an otherwise dreadful year has been rookie forward Jeremy Sochan. The ninth pick from last June’s draft, San Antonio’s first top 10 pick since Tim Duncan in 1997, is averaging 10.5 points and five rebounds this season.

Matchup to watch: Rockets paint offense vs. Spurs paint defense

No team allows more points in the paint than the Spurs, and the Rockets took advantage by scoring 74 points in the paint on Saturday night. With the trade of Jakob Poeltl to Toronto at the deadline, the Spurs are asking Zach Collins and Charles Bassey to defend the rim, which is hardly a deterrence for opposing offenses, and the Spurs do a poor job of defending the perimeter. San Antonio is allowing a league-high 31 shots per game from inside the restricted area. The Rockets’ paint point numbers are a little inflated thanks to 30 fast break points, but they played downhill and focused on getting to the rim during Saturday night’s game.

What I’m watching for

Kevin Porter Jr. and Jalen Green scored in double-figures on Saturday, but neither played particularly effectively in the Rockets’ win in San Antonio. Porter scored 12 points on 6-of-13 shooting, while Green chipped in 11 points on 4-of-10 shooting. Thanks to the bench exploits of Tari Eason and Josh Christopher, the Rockets didn’t need them to be great, but you can’t count on your bench every night. Both are still working their way back from injuries and is just two games back from a 20-game layoff, so he’s still working the rust off, but the Rockets need their two best guards to play well, not just to win games now, but to gain some momentum heading into the summer and next season.

Related Posts:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *