The Spurs seemed to send a message in their season opener when they demolished the Golden State Warriors by over 25 points.
PAU Gasol led the way as the San Antonio Spurs downed the Detroit Pistons, 96-86, on Friday (Saturday, Manila time) to end a three-game home skid.
Rockets fans are used to getting the finger from National Basketball Association schedule makers, but this season might be the worst: first seven of eight on the road, three total five-game road trips, and both games in Denver being on back-to-backs is the National Basketball Association spotting the Rockets about a dozen losses.
The Pistons continued to slide, suffering their third straight game even as Andre Drummond came up with a huge double-double of 20 points and 17 rebounds. Green became the sixth player with at least one 3-pointer in 300 career games for the Spurs. I still don't know if this team has the fortitude to overcome a really bad stretch, but then again the game I was sure Houston would win (Lakers) and the game I was sure they would lose (Spurs) went the opposite direction.
The Spurs outscored Detroit 10-2 over the final 4:12 of the third quarter to assume a 75-67 lead. Because the Rockets have relied so heavily on Harden to both score and facilitate, it's no shock their offense collapses in those 10.4 minutes per game when he rests.
"I think he got exhausted of losing", Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. It was the most points he has scored in any half this season and was his second-highest total this year. "I thought we played the game well".
Point guard Tony Green, who has missed the Spurs' last three games with a sore right knee, will play Friday night.
Instead, the Rockets will host the Spurs on Saturday night at Toyota Center somewhat galvanized not only by their successful road trip, but by the gritty performance they showcased in outlasting San Antonio in the finale of their roadie.
Leonard had his second-lowest point production of the season, shooting 6 for 14. The Rockets have had three days off since defeating the Spurs, 101-99. James Harden is averaging 30.6 points and 13 assists while Eric Gordon is averaging 15.4 points and 2.8 rebounds.