In their final game of a five-game road trip, the Houston Rockets dropped their second straight game in a 96-89 loss to the San Antonio Spurs. Here are three takeaways from Saturday’s game.
Following a lopsided loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Houston Rockets ended their five-game road trip with a 96-89 loss to the San Antonio Spurs, Saturday night, in the AT&T Center in San Antonio. Following the loss, the Rockets ended their five-game road trip with a 3-2 record.
In their first matchup against their I-10 rival, the Rockets got off to a rough start against the Spurs. Houston opened the game missing six of their first seven shots as San Antonio took a 12-4 lead early in the first quarter.
Despite their slow start, the Rockets closed the quarter on a 13-2 run to take a 21-20 led at the end of the first. As James Harden struggled to find his rhythm, the Rockets got an early spark by Eric Gordon, who scored six points in his first seven minutes of the game.
Even though the Rockets received additional helped from Chris Paul, Houston trailed 52-50 heading into the halftime break. In the second quarter, the Rockets gave up 32 points to the Spurs who were led by guard Bryn Forbes with 10 first-half points.
Despite ending the second quarter on a high note, Houston opened the second half missing eight of their first nine shots. As the Rockets struggled from the field, the Spurs took an 11-point lead midway through the third quarter.
With a chance to take the lead midway through the fourth, Houston fought their way to a 1-point deficit before San Antonio went on a 10-4 run to close out the game against the Rockets.
In the win, LaMarcus Aldridge led all players in scoring with 27 points and 10 rebounds. As Harden managed to record 25 points, six rebounds, and three assists in a rough shooting night.
3 takeaways in the loss:
The return of Air Gordon:
After missing the previous three games due to injuries, Eric Gordon had a sensational performance against the Spurs. On a night where James Harden looked far from the player who won league MVP honors, Gordon as a spark plug off the bench with a season-high 23 points.
As the Rockets struggled from behind the arc, Gordon was the only player who received the memo to play inside-out. He scored in a variety of ways by getting to the basket, and at times, took a few mid-range jumpers to stay hot from the field.
As the Spurs took an 11-point lead midway through the third, Gordon scored eight points in the quarter to keep Houston’s hope alive heading into the fourth. Although he scored two points in the fourth, Gordon was by far Houston’s best player in San Antonio.
Chris Paul struggles continue:
Not sure if he is starting to show his age or what, but Chris Paul has not looked the same to start the season. And after having one of the best games of his career in Brooklyn, Paul’s early-season struggles continued in San Antonio.
Paul’s night started in the right direction as the nine-time all-star scored 13 points on 4-for-8 shooting in the first half. His hot start to the game ended his three-game first-half scoring drought, which started last week against the Chicago Bulls.
Unfortunately for the Rockets, Paul went on to miss his next five shots and failed to score another basket. With several chances to take the lead down the stretch, the Rockets needed Paul’s offense, but the 33-year-old point guard could not buy a basket in the second half.
Whether it’s his age or rumors about a potential elbow injury, the 2018-19 season maybe the start of a decline for CP3.
Last season, the Rockets had one of the greatest offensive performances in NBA history. Sadly, Houston’s historic offense has yet to crossover into the new year. Against the Spurs, the Rockets failed to score over 100 points for the fourth consecutive game. As well as failing to score over 90 points for the second consecutive game.
Due to miss layups and failing to execute on the offensive end, the Rockets shot a dreadful 30-for-90 (33.3%) from the field and a terrible 9-41 (22.0%) from behind the arc. Not only did the Rockets fail to score the ball from the field, but their shooting woes converted to the free-throw line going 20-for-29 (69.0%).
Although everyone struggled from the field, James Harden had his worst performance in recent memory. Despite 25 points from the reigning MVP, Harden shot 25.9% percent from the field and 1-for-13 (13.0%) from behind the arc.
After falling to the Spurs, the Rockets will return home and look to end their two-game losing streak against the Indiana Pacers, Sunday, in the Toyota Center. To stay up to date on all things Rockets and more, be sure to subscribe to You Can Argue That Sports and receive notifications of new posts and podcasts by email.