HOUSTON (AP) Kyle Lowry didn't mind coming up just short of a triple-double in the Houston Rockets' home opener.
With a challenging early season schedule, the Houston point guard is more interested in victories than statistics.
Houston was playing the first of three games on consecutive nights, and Lowry sat out the fourth quarter, even though he was flirting with his second career triple-double.
The Rockets play at Memphis on Friday, then return home to face Atlanta on Saturday.
''We've got a chance to get some home wins, and that's what we've got to do,'' Lowry said. ''We've got to go out there and get the wins we need to get.''
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was also thinking ahead as the Rockets pulled away. He rested Tim Duncan in the second half, and had every starter but Richard Jefferson on the bench for most of the fourth quarter.
''We were not playing well and I decided not to play them, and I was able to work other guys and get some other looks,'' Popovich said.
DeJuan Blair scored 22 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for San Antonio, which shot 38 percent (35 of 93) and went 2 for 17 from 3-point range. Duncan went 1 for 8 from the field and scored four points and Jefferson went 2 for 10 and had only five points for the aging Spurs, who looked tired playing their third game in four nights.
''We were below where we want to be,'' said Manu Ginobili, who scored eight points. ''In a season like this, we will have to wait and see if this might happen more often. You have to let it go and think about the next game.''
Luis Scola scored eight of Houston's first 10 points, before Martin found his range. He sank his first 3-pointer of the season after going 0 for 6 from long range in the opening loss to Orlando and the Rockets led 13-4.
The Spurs missed nine of their first 10 shots, but rallied to cut their deficit to 23-18 by the end of the first quarter.
Martin stayed hot in the second quarter, hitting another 3 to help the Rockets rebuild the lead.
''I felt like myself tonight,'' he said.
San Antonio, meanwhile, hit another drought in the second quarter, missing 15 of its first 17 shots.
Houston led 53-35 at the break. Martin sank three 3-pointers and scored 20 points in the half, only two points shy of the total for the Spurs' entire starting lineup.
''Everybody was all worried about him,'' Lowry said of Martin. ''He just missed shots in Orlando, that was it. Once he made shots, you see what he does.''
Martin swished a 3-pointer in the first 45 seconds of the third quarter to stretch the lead past 20 points for the first time. Tony Parker and Ginobili started driving inside and San Antonio began to rally, climbing to within 12 on Blair's putback near the midpoint of the quarter.
Martin hit another long jumper and Lowry sank a 3 as the Rockets regained control and built the lead to 78-59 by the start of the fourth.
A lineup of all reserves maintained the comfortable lead for Houston early in the final quarter, as the Spurs continued to sputter on offense.
''Houston played better than we did,'' Parker said. ''They shot the ball and defensively, had a good game plan.''
Samuel Dalembert, acquired by Houston on Monday, blocked four shots and scored four points in 21 minutes of action. The 6-foot-11 Dalembert, a much-needed presence inside, had 10 points and five rebounds in Houston's opener.
Notes: Spurs G Gary Neal (appendectomy) did not make the trip, though Popovich said Neal is ''progressing each day.'' Neal averaged 9.8 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists last season. Popovich hopes that Neal will be ready for contact drills ''in a couple of days.'' ... Rockets F Patrick Patterson (sprained right ankle) sat out for the second straight game. ... Spurs F Tiago Splitter had 10 points and 11 rebounds off the bench. ... Dalembert also had seven rebounds. ... Scola scored 18 points for Houston.
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- Houston Rockets
- Kevin Martin
- San Antonio Spurs
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