You don’t want to read too much into one regular season game, especially one in December.
However the Rockets 111-98 win over host San Antonio had you asking a couple questions:
1) How good will Houston be if they can stay healthy and find some consistency?
2) Is San Antonio playing a step slow this season against the best in the West just a regular season thing, or are they a step slow now?
Houston scored the first six points of the game and raced out to an early 17-point lead early, thanks to Chandler Parsons putting up 14 in the first quarter. By the end of that quarter San Antonio had put up 40 points on 64 percent shooting, including 6-of-9 from three. The Spurs chipped away at that lead and actually got it down to five points midway through the fourth quarter. Then James Harden happened — he hit four straight shots, scored 11 straight points and had 16 of his game-high 28 points in the fourth quarter. Harden shut down any Rockets comebacks.
Houston ended up with 21 points from Parsons and Terrence Jones, while Dwight Howard had 15 points and 20 rebounds. They ended up with a balanced attack and scored 118.2 points per 100 possessions and played solid defense.
The Rockets have been inconsistent this season, which is to be expected after adding Howard to the mix this season changed the dynamic.
Still, you watch games like this and think come the playoffs they could be a much bigger threat than it has seemed up to this point — this is a team that is slowly starting to figure out who it is. When it does… watch out.
As for San Antonio, they are 16-0 this season against teams under .500 and 6-7 against teams over .500 and have had teams like Oklahoma City, Indiana and now Houston handle them. It’s foolish to write off San Antonio right now (how many times have people done that only to look like fools?), this is a veteran team that knows when it needs to peak and that is not Christmas day.
However, the struggles against other good team makes it fair to question if they really do have another run in them this season.
We’ll see. Manu Ginobili had 22 against Houston off the bench, but Tim Duncan was 4-of-12 and Tony Parker was 3-of-11. It’s a long season but we need to take a hard look at them as we start to move into the middle of the season.