Matchup: San Antonio Spurs vs Houston Rockets
Records: Spurs (18-15), Rockets (16-15)
Where to Watch
Date: Sunday, Dec. 23
Time: 6:30 am
TV: Sony Ten1 & Sony Ten3
Location: Toyota Center, Houston, TX
A couple of weeks earlier, both teams were among the bottom teams in the Western Conference. Since then, both teams have stringed together enough wins to get back into the Playoff picture in the incredible tough Western Conference.
Since Dec. 7, the Spurs have gone 7-1 in their eight games, only dropping a game against the Bulls which included six straight game at home at the AT&T Center. Over this span, they have the league's best offensive (121.9, 4th for overall season) defensive (99.4, 19th for overall season) and net rating (22.5, 10th for overall season).
They also led the league in points (118.5), field goal percentage (53.6%) and three-point shooting (47.8%). This has been a remarkable turnaround for the team, especially after their struggles over a month from Nov. 4 to Dec. 6 when they went 4-12.
After such a comfortable home stretch, the Spurs are set to play three of their next four on the road in Houston, Denver and then Los Angeles (vs. the Clippers).
While the Spurs would look to carry forward this momentum, it's easier said than done for the Rockets.
In their loss on Thursday to the Heat in Miami, Chris Paul injured his left hamstright. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Rockets are hopeful that Paul should be back on the court after two-three weeks.
Prior to this Heat loss, the Rockets had gone on a 5-game win streak (tying their season-best) but with Chris Paul out can they regain their momentum by bouncing back from this loss?
During the five game win streak, it was James Harden show. James Harden has been the spark behind their recent win streak, averaging 38.6 points, 7.8 assists, and 6.4 rebounds on 51.8% shooting from the field. The team, as a whole, seems to have marginally improved (defense ranks 15th during the streak as compared to 27th for the season overall) but it's more or less been a show put on by the reigning MVP.
Unlike the Spurs, the Rockets have four of their next five games at home at the Toyota Center including a Christmas Day clash with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Can the shorthanded Rockets bounce back from the Heat loss for another win streak?
- This is the Spurs' sixth back-to-back this season. So far, they have gone 0-5 on the second night of these back-to-backs.
- This contest is San Antonio's 16th road game and in their previous 15 encounters, they have accumulated a record of 5-10. Meanwhile, the Rockets at home, have a 9-5 record.
- For Houston, James Ennis (Hamstring) and Carmelo Anthony (Coach's decision) were previously set to miss this encounter but unfortunately, they will also miss Chris Paul, who injured his left hamstring in the team's game against the Heat in Miami.
- On the other hand, the Spurs would miss the services of Pau Gasol (Foot) and Dejounte Murray (Knee - out for the season).
Last Time They Played
Date: Dec. 1, 2018
Score: Spurs 105, Rockets 136
Spurs: LaMarcus Aldridge - 20 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocks
Rockets: James Harden - 23 points, 10 assists, and 7 rebounds on 45% shooting