The Rockets built a 16-point lead through the first three quarters and appeared fully in control against an overmatched foe before the Spurs outscored them 34-18 in the fourth quarter. The home team then finished the 135-133 win in double overtime and shocked the visiting Rockets.
There were a number of strange developments in this game, including the Rockets' blown fourth-quarter lead.
James Harden appeared to put the Rockets up 15 with a breakaway dunk in the fourth quarter, but officials did not see the ball go through the net and bounce up before going off the rim. Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni also wasn't able to challenge the play that was ruled not to be a basket, which meant Houston missed out on two critical points it could have used to avoid overtime.
Harden finished with a head-turning 50 points, but he was only 11-of-38 from the field and 4-of-20 from three-point range. He racked up his points by hitting all 24 of his free-throw attempts, but drawing contact came back to bite him at the end.
He was called for two charges in the second overtime, including one DeMar DeRozan drew in the final second to help the Spurs clinch the win.
Harden wasn't the only one with an unusual box score, as Westbrook tallied a triple-double of 19 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists but was only 7-of-30 from the field. Nobody else on the Rockets attempted more than nine shots as the two playmaking guards dominated the ball.
San Antonio managed to win without LaMarcus Aldridge, who was sidelined with a thigh injury.
B/R senior writer, FS1 analyst, and host of the Bucher & Friends pod, Ric Bucher returns to “The Full 48 with Howard Beck” to play another round of “It’s way too early but…” involving the Toronto Raptors, LeBron vs Kawhi, the Bucks, Ja Morant, Carmelo Anthony, the Chicago Bulls, and the James Harden Russell Westbrook experiment.