Thanks mostly to a red-hot shooting performance, the San Antonio Spurs survived an equally brilliant scoring barrage by the Houston Rockets to get a 122-116 win on Friday night.
Almost from the opening tip, this contest looked far more like an old-school ABA contest than anything from the Tim Duncan Spurs era. San Antonio stormed out early, hitting shots from all over the floor en route to a 41-point first quarter. Point guard Tony Parker had 11 of those first-quarter points and finished with a team-high 31 points and 10 assists on the night.
However, as they're wont to do, the Rockets proved they could run up and down the floor with anyone in the NBA. Houston came back from after being down 12 points heading into the second quarter to close the gap to a 69-65 Spurs lead at halftime. In fact, James Harden scored 16 of his game-high 33 points in that second period, and the Rockets seemed to be mounting a comeback.
It just wasn't to be on Friday night.
After a relatively even third quarter that saw San Antonio head into the final period ahead by six points, the Spurs took over as the Rockets' shooters went cold. After Toney Douglas hit a three-pointer to bring Houston within four at 101-97 with a little less than 11 minutes remaining, the scoring well went dry. The Rockets went the next seven minutes without hitting a field goal, and the Spurs stretched their lead to 19 points.
Though a late-game surge brought the final score relatively close, San Antonio's victory was never in doubt.
Player of the Game: Tony Parker
Not only did Parker knock down 11 of his 19 shots against Houston, but he also added a 9-of-10 performance from the free-throw line. When factoring in his 10 assists, five rebounds and two steals, there was little question about who was getting top honors.
Honorable mention goes to Tim Duncan, who scored 30 points and grabbed five rebounds on Friday night. The team will hope that gets him out of the scoring slump which has coincided with the Spurs' downtick in play.
What's Next for the Rockets?
The 16-13 Rockets will get no break on their schedule, as they head back home to take on the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday.
What's Next for the Spurs?
While the 23-8 Spurs do get a day off, it's only to give them a 24-hour reprieve before hitting the road to play the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday.