The Spurs currently own the best record in the Western Conference, and the Rockets are sitting in seventh place.
But San Antonio holds a narrow lead over the Oklahoma City Thunder, and Houston is not far ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers. There are multiple scenarios that would make this game a preview of a first-round playoff series.
These teams will be sizing each other up in this game, and here is everything you need to know about the contest.
Where: Toyota Center, Houston, Texas
When: Sunday, March 24, 7 p.m. ET
Watch: CSN Houston
Live Stream: NBA League Pass (paid subscription required)
Betting Line: San Antonio -1.5 (according to Vegas Insider)
Key Injuries (via USA Today)
Neither team has any significant injuries to report.
Spurs Player to Watch: Tim Duncan
While Tony Parker may be having an MVP-caliber season, Duncan is in the midst of a fantastic stretch of games.
He has had four consecutive double-doubles, and during this recent set of games, he is averaging 25.5 points and 15 rebounds.
The Future Hall of Famer is still going very strong at 36 years old. His incredible fundamentals and veteran savvy make him one of the most reliable players in the NBA, and the young Rockets will have problems guarding him.
The way he has been playing recently, spectators should fully expect at least 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Rockets Player to Watch: James Harden
Harden has proved to be a perfect fit for Houston’s high-octane offense, and he is the ideal player to lead the team’s relentless attack.
The reigning Sixth Man of the Year has excelled in a starting role and is putting up 26.3 points per game this season. But he will likely have to score more than his average in order to lead a victory over the Spurs.
The Rockets are the clear underdogs in this game, and for them to come away with a victory, Harden will need to find his rhythm early.
Watch for him to be aggressive with his shot selection right from the start of this contest.
Key Matchup: Battle of the Point Guards
While Tony Parker is almost certainly going to beat Jeremy Lin in the battle of floor generals in this game, Lin needs to make sure it isn’t a blowout.
Parker has been incredible this season. He is averaging 21 points and 7.6 assists per game while shooting 53.5 percent from the floor.
Lin has been solid but unspectacular since arriving in Houston, and he is putting up 13.1 points and 6.1 assists per night. But his main duty in this game will be on the defensive end of the floor.
The 24-year-old needs to find a way to slow down Parker and keep him from dominating this game. If Lin can do this, Houston has a chance.
The Spurs have no problems getting into a shootout with the Rockets, and San Antonio is 3-0 against Houston this season. In all three games, the Spurs scored over 110 points.
With Duncan playing so well recently, the Rockets will not be able to keep San Antonio from scoring at will throughout this game. Even though Houston feeds off the energy of the home crowd and tends to score more at the Toyota Center, the team will not be able to get enough points to win this game.
San Antonio’s offense is too efficient, and the veteran Spurs will take down the young Rockets.
Spurs 121, Rockets 117
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