Rockets-Spurs Preview

The Associated Press

Nearly two weeks ago, the Houston Rockets dealt the San Antonio Spurs their most lopsided loss of the season.

The result might be different in San Antonio.

While the Spurs remain winless on the road, they own the NBA's best record at home, where they'll play their next three games starting Wednesday when they take on the cross-state rival Rockets.

The contrast between the Spurs' play at home and on the road could not be more stark. San Antonio (6-4) is a league-best 6-0 at the AT&T Center, where it's scoring 104.8 points per game and winning by an average margin of 14.1. The Spurs broke the 100-point barrier for the first time away from home Tuesday night at Milwaukee, but fell 106-103 as their road record sank to 0-4.

Tony Parker scored 22 points while Tim Duncan added 20 and rookie Kawhi Leonard had 19, but it wasn't enough for San Antonio. The Spurs are giving up an average of 110.3 points over their last three games while allowing opponents to shoot 53.1 percent from the floor.

"It's the worst defensive team we've ever had,'' coach Gregg Popovich said. "We have a long way to go.''

The Spurs' first loss came in Houston on Dec. 29, when the Rockets jumped to a 53-35 halftime lead and cruised to a 105-85 victory. However, the Spurs have won the last three meetings between these teams in San Antonio.

The Rockets (3-6) arrive at the AT&T Center on a minor high after snapping a four-game skid with an 82-70 win at Charlotte on Tuesday. Houston prevailed despite turning the ball over 22 times and shooting 39 percent from the field.

"Sometimes in the NBA you've just got to win ugly,'' Rockets coach Kevin McHale said.

"Believe me that was ugly for both teams out there, but it was prettier for us and I was happy for our guys. They kept fighting. We've been preaching that you've got to win some ugly games.''

Houston won ugly with a balanced effort. Rookie Chandler Parsons scored a team-high 20 points and Kevin Martin added 17, while Kyle Lowry had 11 rebounds and eight assists. Jordan Hill may have made the biggest impact of all, with 12 points and 12 rebounds in 18 minutes off the bench for his first double-double of the season.

"Jordan saved our bacon there for a while,'' McHale said of Hill, the starting center for the season's first seven games. "He played really well. We're still trying to find out rotations and try to find out what we're going to be doing. We're still working on all those things and trying to find out who is going to play and when they're going to play and who they're going to play with.''

Tuesday's win was the first in six road games this season for Houston, which returns home this weekend for back-to-back games against Sacramento and Portland.

The Spurs host the Trail Blazers on Friday and Phoenix on Sunday.

San Antonio may be without guard T.J. Ford, who strained his left hamstring in the first quarter of the loss to the Bucks. Popovich said there is no timetable for Ford's return.

What to Read Next