It seemed like the San Antonio Spurs were on pace to finally end their winning drought against the Houston Rockets, but a lackluster performance in the second half from Gregg Popovich’s team prevented them to doing so.
The Spurs were very efficient in the first half, but they had an awful third quarter where they led the lead slip away and they never recovered despite their efforts in the final 12 minutes. The Rockets tighten things up on the defensive end near the end and basically took advantage of the opportunities given by the Spurs to walk away with a 97-90 victory.
San Antonio couldn’t take advantage of the fact that James Harden was sidelined with an injury in his left thumb and despite the fact that they finished the first half leading and playing some solid basketball on both ends of the court, things crumbled in the second half. Their offense disappeared, the Rockets started making their shots – as shown by the 33-18 score in the third quarter – and the strategy of putting Houston on the free throw line didn’t work as Dwight Howard made 13 points from the charity stripe and Jeremy Lin added seven more.
The Spurs couldn’t recover towards the end of the game and their defeat can’t be accredited to the Rockets as much as it can be place on the Spurs’ shoulders. San Antonio failed to execute when it mattered the most and it seems highly unlikely that they will be able to mount a deep playoff run if they keep playing like this near the postseason.
With the loss, the Spurs now have officially lost the series against the Rockets giving them the edge on a possible tiebreaker for a playoff seed down the stretch. The Spurs have shown an inability to compete against the top teams in the NBA this season and it seems like this trend won’t change any time soon.