San Antonio Spurs 108, Houston Rockets 95

by

AT&T CENTER — Houston Rockets guard Kevin Martin is considered by some to be one of the most efficient scorers in the league. He started out Saturday night’s game against the Spurs proving that theory correct, scoring 10 points in the first quarter on 4-6 shooting.

Martin was 2-2 from the 3-point line and scored on a pair of layups as the Rockets led 26-25 after one quarter.

By the time the Spurs had finished off the Rockets in a 108-95 win, Martin still had 10 points.

The Spurs prevented Martin from getting to the basket and instead let him shoot 0-5 from the 3-point line the rest of the night.

“I think sometimes you can’t settle for just taking long shots,” Rockets Head Coach Rick Adelman said after the game. “They put a little false pressure on us and we gave into it.”

Luis Scola was the Rockets’ best player on the night, scoring 23 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. But the defense the Spurs played on Kevin Martin left Coach Pop pleased.

“I thought we did a good job on Martin,” Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich said after the game. “They depend on him to get a lot of scoring done, so that helped us out.

“We played pretty solid defense throughout the game, especially in the second half.”

When Coach Pop is happy about the defense, and the Spurs have the scoring distribution that they showed against Houston (six players were in double figures, all five starters had at least 10 points early in the third quarter), there’s a very good chance that the Spurs will win.

Really, if Coach Pop is happy about the defense, then the Spurs probably won.

Offensively, I struggle to call it balance, because six players scored 97 of the Spurs’ 108 points. But it’s a great sign for San Antonio’s offense that so many players were able to score the ball well.

Even better were the variety of ways those players were able to score the ball. Manu Ginobili was 4-6 from the 3-point line, DeJuan Blair had four or five dunks finishing plays, Tony Parker was effective getting to the basket for layups and George Hill hit 7-8 free throws.

Richard Jefferson also had a solid all-around offensive night. He attacked the basket well and hit 2-3 from beyond the 3-point arc for his 18 points.

“He was aggressive all night, he played well,” Coach Pop said. “He caught with the idea of trying to be a scorer whether it was shooting the ball or driving it.”

The Spurs now embark on the fabled Rodeo Road Trip, with 40 wins already under their belt. Normally a time when the team comes together heading into the season’s stretch-run, San Antonio can afford to drop a couple of games.

But if they don’t lose many games? The Spurs can probably pencil themselves in for home court advantage throughout the playoffs.

  • DorieStreet

    A sound win to end the month (and continue the home win streak). 8 1/2 game lead in division, 6 game lead in conference. RRT begins on west coast against a resilent Blazers squad (who happen to occupy the 8th spot in the conference playoff race).

  • NYC

    40

  • NYC

    Great summary of the game. I only caught second half, but this tells me everything I wanted to know.

  • Josh

    Gary Neal may have gone 1-7 shooting, but this was the most promising game I’ve seen him have. Defensively he looked like a George Hill clone and he’s starting to gain confidence creating both his own shots and shots for other players.

  • Hobson13

    This team is coming together pretty nicely. RJ seems to be rediscovering himself, Tony and Manu are playing very well, and most importantly we appear to be getting healthy. Fortunately, Hill’s injury doesn’t seem to be a big deal, we’ve had several Tiago sightings lately, and this is Anderson’s first game back since the third week of the season. All in all, our depth looks pretty good.

    I think we will see a super charged and super focused Spurs team for this road trip. I really think we can at least go 7-2. Our most probable losses are Portland, LA, and Chicago. However, I think we can get at least one of those games. As DorieStreet mentioned, we are way ahead in the WC standings. From here on out, it’s just all about improving the team defense and offensive chemistry. If we take care of ourselves, then theres only 1 other team in the West that we should really fear.

  • DNITCH

    Man it’s nights like these were I’d love to see what kind of number Jefferson could put up if he were able to take more shots. Great to see Anderson back in action, although I was kinda disappointed because me and a couple of friends were gonna check out at toros game. Lookin’ forward to the RRT!

    Horns and Spurs win. Great night for basketball!

  • Mitch

    Anderson is back baby! I think he will be a key guy off the bench for us the rest of the season, even though he has been out for the first half. I can’t wait to see what the Spurs can do once we also get Bonner back(floor spacing) and our defense improves during/after the rodeo trip. Go Spurs Go!

  • andy

    was great to see some splitter, and i see good things for him in the years to come. he was pretty active, hands in passing lanes, generally good awareness (though still a little lost at times on offense).

    awesome to see blair dunking with power. like seeing a fat kid eat cake.

    love seeing boston and l.a. lose. i forget who it was that suggested it, but i’d really like the idea of us sewing up home court for the entire playoffs then just play our reserves for the rest of the year. really screw with people’s minds.

  • andy

    plus, did anyone notice the zone for a bit with splitter in the first? looked like a box and 1, but not sure. the first possession threw houston off, but on the next they started moving the ball around and made us look silly. i think we need a little more practice if we’re gonna throw in that zone.

  • Manolo Pedralvez

    All five starters in double figures, led by Ginobili’s 22 points, and a sixth – George Hill – off the bench, scoring 14-of-8 (similar to RJ, except Rage had two triples), shows what an awesome balanced San Antono offense when attack goes cranking, highlighted by 8-of-16 from beyond the arc. Notable too, is the nearly 90 percent free throw shooting, converting 24 of 27 tries from the stripe. Throw in Splitter getting minutes, highlighted by two steals. Truly, once everyone is in sync, this is going to be one big mean San Antonio basketball machine.
    My own take on the rodeo trip: 8-1, at the very least.

  • Manolo Pedralvez

    Ditto kudos for the Diceman, who had two steals, two blocked shots and four points, including that rim-shaking dunk off a Neal 3-point miss from the corner.

  • SAinSLC

    Hey everyone, the Spurs DUNK the basketball!!! How much fun is that to watch?! Two points is two points no matter how they’re scored, but it’s still fun to see some aggression taken out on those rims…they were probably the least dunked on rims in the league for a while.

  • Judd

    “I’m just speechless right now,” said Spurs center DeJuan Blair, who had 14 points and 12 rebounds. “Because it’s just such an honor to be on this team, on this quest for greatness, and we’ve just got to keep it going.” -ap

    ahhhh…. that’s Awesome! the sort of quote that gets me pumped. was at the ut game then watched the recorded spurs game. what a great night of basketball! this was another of those nights when it really hit me just how much fun this season is. enjoy it fans. this feels like a special year. no other city has gotten to enjoy what we have for the past 12+ years: a consistent championship caliber team that does it the right way with great people.

    i agree josh; how great was it watching neal play some terrific and gritty defense?

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/dvyoung05 dvyoung05

    The only possible threats against us in this rodeo road trip are the Lakers, the Blazers and the Bulls. But there are also 3 sets of back-to-back games that should worry us. Time to see how valid our depth is this season.

    We’ve had 8 back-to-back games so far into this season. 4 losses out of our total 7 losses came at the back end of these games (vs the Clippers, the Magic, the Celtics and the Hornets).

    BTW did we have that many back to back games in the past RRTs as well? This seems brutal. If the Spurs don’t really buckle up, this can go sour on us pretty fast.

    On another note, away from twins, I expect Manu to be big in this RRT. lol.

  • Daniel T

    “When he (Scola) left the game with about eight minutes left in the game, the Spurs went on a 16-6 run to all but break the game open.”

    I’m not sure where this comes from. Scola left the game with about 8 minutes to go and the Spurs up by 11 points. He came back into the game with 5:20 to go and the Spurs up by 14. He left the game for good with 1:33 remaining and the Spurs up by 13, the same margin the game ended with.

    Scola did have only a -3 in the +/- stat, with the other 7 points that the Spurs picked up while he was out coming at the opening of the 2nd quarter while all of the Rockets’ starters were resting.

  • Gebo

    I may just be looking for the silver lining, but I just realized that James Anderson is not going to hit the Rookie Wall during the long NBA season. His half-season is very comparable to a college schedule. Surprised and happy to see him back so soon. He’s one of ours and I wish him the best with his foot.

  • DieHardSpur

    Pisses me off about that Anderson step back jumper… would have been a three, but his toe was on the line. I dont think his shooting touch is gone having missed so much time.

    The more i watch Manu work, the more i realize he is virtually unstoppable. He has been my favorite player in the league for 6 years now.

  • http://48minutesofhell.com Andrew A. McNeill

    @ Daniel T

    You’re right, I’m not sure what was going on with my math skills when I was looking at the play-by-play last night, but that was insanely off.

  • DorieStreet

    Spurs were part of the roundtable commentary this morning on ESPN’s “The Sports Reporters”. Good, consise points on why the Spurs are 40-7. There was even a reference to the always low-key, under-the-radar MO of the team- (Boston Globe writer) Bob Ryan said “Greg Popovich is mad that we are even talking about them now.”

  • Bentley

    DieHardSpur

    “The more i watch Manu work, the more i realize he is virtually unstoppable. He has been my favorite player in the league for 6 years now.”

    I absolutely agree with you. Manu Ginobili is one of the most fun and interesting players you can watch in this league, and its been that way really since he came into the NBA

  • mybloodissilverandblack

    I’m thrilled that James Anderson is back. Now we’re a lot deeper.

    We’ve got to get Troy Murphy, though – a rebounding Matt Bonner.

  • Bankshot21

    Troy Murphy hasn’t been productive in a very long time. He’s not worth screwing with the chemistry or payroll.

  • Ed

    I’d take a shot at Murphy, especially if he comes cheap. Last night was such a level performance. No great ups or dowsn, just a steady march to a “W”. I expect 6or7 wins the RRT with 2 games especially interesting, Bulls and Lakers. Lakers for obvious reasons and Bulls because they’re really good and will be really hungry to show the Spurs they’re for real. Which they are. I can see the Bulls takeing the East. While evryone in the media strokes Miami and Boston Chicago could easily surprise them all.

  • betsyduncan

    Can’t wait to see Matt back on the floor! He needs to get back into rhythm and the rotation! GSG on the RRT!

  • Titletown99030507

    If Neal is not on early he makes up for it in his pressing defense but lately I’ve noticed he’s been getting in to foul trouble. Hope he can control that we don’t want him to be sitting because of 2 quick fouls. I guess he’s trying too hard because of a few misses. I like the fact that Pop looked at him and urged him on after missing his first 2 shots.

  • Ruel

    Great Win…
    Good to see Private James Anderson back even for less minutes and actions but the shooting touch I think still there…
    Good to see McDyess rocking that rim like almost take him back from his old days…
    Overall, great Team Win…
    Get well soon Matt…
    I think our Team will be able to clean those up for upcoming RRT with this group/unit? Anything is possible…

  • Crystakke

    I know most of you guys already are counting those six games we are playing on this RRT against those sub .500 east teams as 6 wins. But 3 of those are on back to backs and is very likely that one of those teams will get hot on us and the Spurs will simply be flat on offense. It will look like the Spurs can’t hit water even if they sit on a boat in the middle of the ocean. But you can’t read to much into something like that. The only wins I really want to get are at Lakers and Chicago. For me, a 6-3 record would be satisfying, but 7-2 would be more realistic expectations.
    Looking at the remaining schedule, can’t see Spurs loosing No.1 seed in the west. Overall No.1 seed is another story. We have 4 games on Boston, but they just got their main guys back and it will be a dogfight till the end. Thinking back at last years Finals Game 7, I think Boston will definitely go for best record overall. Head to head game will be huge. Good thing it’s at home.

  • Hollywood

    I agree with others – it was great to see Anderson back on the court, even if in mop up minutes. I get the sense that Pop trusts him, and perhaps with how well Neal has played, who knows, maybe Pop has changed his previous mentality and will be more inclined to trust Anderson more than he would trust rookies in the past.

  • Tim in Surrey

    @Crystakke – I think you’re right to be a little concerned about the road trip. But as dvyoung05 pointed out, three of our four b2b losses were against contenders (Celtics, Magic & Hornets) and the fourth was against a young but talented Clippers team that went on quite a tear right then. So I’m a little bit relieved that we’re not facing a real murderer’s row. However…

    The real concern for me isn’t that we have some b2bs. It’s that we have TWO b2bs separated by a day, then a day off, then another game. In other words, we have a stretch of four games in five days and five in seven. And remember that all of these teams will be pretty amped to play the best team in the league. So… I think I’m with you that I would be quite happy–thrilled even–with a 6-3 record.

    I guess we’ll see how it goes…

  • ITGuy

    Go Spurs Go!!

  • Daniel T

    It’s been reported that Bonner will be traveling with the team though won’t be playing on Tuesday. Chances are he is day-to-day after that, and they must think he will be ready shortly thereafter or he would have stayed home for rehab.

    I think Bonner’s return could be the first time this season when the entire roster would be ready to play, though the 13th man (determined each game) becomes inactive. The depth should definitely help with so many games in a short span.

    It has at times seemed to me that Pop will leave his starters in until they build up enough of a lead to turn the game over to the reserves, but they wind up low on energy and give away part of their lead, which means Pop wants to stay with his starters, etc. etc. I’m hoping that for some of these games he goes to the reserves very early, they build on a lead, and he goes deeper into the reserves.

  • The Beat Counselor

    @ Crystakke & Tim in Surrey

    Very astute observations about the RRT.

    I’d like to add that Portland is quite the stingy defensive team, Sacramento just beat the Lakers, Detroit & Philadelphia are unpredictable and can patch together unexpected wins, and we all know how scary Toronto was for a half. That’s not to mention that Washington just took OKC to double overtime over the weekend.

    That said, 6-3 and 7-2 are definitely within the realm of possibility. We just can’t sleep on anyone. Tor & Was are the teams we face on the back end of back-to-backs during the trip. Luckily we face Det & Phi the nights before so we won’t have to re-live a NY/Bos-like back-to-back.

    On the other hand, we lost to the Clippers on a back-to-back with Golden State, so we are definitely vulnerable.

    I’d say if we lose both of the 2nd games of the back-to-back and one of the games between LA & Chi (6-3), we should still look at the trip as a success. However, I think 5-4 would be respectable, considering.

    GSG!

  • SAJKinBigD

    Great game! Love the roll this team is on right now heading into the RRT! If they stay focused, I don’t think 8-1 or 9-0 is out of the question! Am I putting too much faith in them? Probably, but still with Neo (Mr. Anderson) back and already having Pop’s support and trust and Bonner back soon, I think this team has the power to do it and to roll all the way through. Focus and Defense are key.

    Also, love the comment above from Bob Ryan – he’s most likely right. Let the other coaches and players in the league fear us and let the ignorant masses REMAIN ignorant of our power. :)

  • Dr. Leonard McCoy

    Damnit Jim! I’m a doctor who relies on facts & reality, not fantacies & possibilities, but just this once, could I dream big… I mean, REALLY BIG? PLEEEEZE?! Any who Spurs fans, sorry to disrupt the blog conversation flow here, but here’s something BIG that caught my attention over in Spurs Nation. It was a LITTLE side note on the main story from Mike Monroe, tittled, “Bonner Makes the Trip but Doubtful for Tuesday.” This little side note had some BIG information in it that may be of some intrest for Spurs fans to think, fantacise, salivate, hope or just discard. the side note story is tittled, “Oberto Hopeful.” It basically says that Oberto was seen in RC Buford’s box Saturday as they watched the game. Apparently on Sunday, he was also seen in the Spurs’ practice facility doing some conditioning work. Mike, in his LITTLE story, says that Oberto is going to have some tests done to see if things work out, perhaps regarding his heart palpitations that occured when he was with us, & forced his hand to retire while with Portland. Hmmmm…. If things DO work out & let’s say, he’s given the green light…. Hmmmm! Where could he go…. Hmmmm…. Let’s say… THE SPURS?! Hmmmm… Now that would be BIG!!! But sorry Spurs fans, as good as that would sound, I don’t know about you, I’m not gonna hold my breath on that one, that may be dangerous, but the Oberto possibility? Hmmmm… I don’t know, about that one, cause I got burned by my last fantasy (ooooh, that didn’t sound good!), but here’s another BIG story I also read today in regards to Sasha Pavlovic. Dallas announced that they will not sign Pavlovic to another 10 day contract, so that means that he’s FREE! WOO HOO! sorry. Any who, it would be intresting to see if the Spurs may persue him or not. I don’t know much about him, but I do remember from that last game the Mavs played against the Spurs, this 6-9 small forward seems to have a nice shooting stroke. So, Spurs fans, what cha think?! Any of these worth a look-see, or keep it a fantasy? Live long & prosper & GIT ONE FOR THA THUMB!

  • DorieStreet

    Even though it is 4 games in 5 nights, I am not buying this team losing to the Raptors (11 straight losses) and the Wizards (4 game losing streak) just because they are the 2nd games of BTBs. Very short travel time between both sets of cities. No doubt, every team will be amped to play the Spurs, but they have something to prove-not dropping games to inferior squads. 7-2 or better is what I’m looking for out of this RRT.

  • DorieStreet

    @ Dr. Leonard McCoy-

    All the sites I looked at have Pavlovic listed @ 6′ 7″. It seemed his best year was ’06-07 with the Cavs, and those numbers didn’t impress me. Plus I remember game commentators bringing up the story of then coach Mike Brown requesting more defensive effort from Pavlovic, and the player responded, “My offense is my defense.” Pass.

  • Nima K.

    Yes. This little news about Oberto being seen in RC’s office intrigues me.

    What r they up to? Would we be seeing Oberto in a black and silver uniform again?? Is he to replace Owens? Or will he be number 14 on the roster? Or was all that news about being spotted at the Dpurs practice facility all just a friendly visit of old friends?

    Oooo the suspense is killing me.

  • Hobson13

    Dr. Leonard McCoy
    January 31st, 2011 at 11:17 am

    Why would this team be interested in Fab Oberto? One of the biggest reasons for our success this year is the fact that we have younger players who actually have skills on the offensive end of the court and are improving (hopefully) on the defensive end.

    Why would we reverse course and bring in an older player who isn’t a great athlete on the defensive and can only make layups on the offensive? Fab is a great guy, but he’s not what the Spurs need. Besides, we already have 5 bigs. What would we do with a 35 yr old 6th big that has absolutely NO upside? He would only take away minutes from the development of Splitter and Blair. I know some of us love Oberto for the sake of nostalgia, but I say no thanks to Fab.

  • idahospur

    We need a Rodeo Road Trip preview article. On that note, I think the Spurs drew well on our next nine opponents to take on the road as only 3 of 9 have winning records, so it could easily be a 6-3 road trip.

  • Tyler

    I’m pretty sure Oberto retired because of his heart situation. Unless things have drastically changed in the last several months, I doubt he’d come back as a player.

  • DorieStreet

    @ Hobson13

    I agree with you about Oberto. Never was a favorite of mine-I guess because I just saw him play when the Spurs tipped off against the NBA elite, and it just seemed to me he just filled a uniform and occupied a spot in the defensive rotation. Now–older, with a health issue? Pass on both of the doctor’s picks.

  • TD = BEST EVER

    @ Hobson13 & DorieStreet

    I have been and still am 1 of the biggest supporters of SA signing another BIG.

    Although I agree that Oberto is alot older and even more an offensive liability…. I still think he can defend better than Bonner/Splitter… and Probably Blair….. not accounting for his Defensive Rebounding……. So if its him or no one – Then bring back Fabulous Fabricio……..

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  • Mano E Manu

    The only win the Spurs really need to get is the LA game, since it’s basically worth 2 games. I don’t think the Spurs are really capable of losing games to the Kings et al. like the Lakers are, though I also don’t think they can sweep the road trip or anything. They’re simply a more talented, better coached team than the scrubs of the league.

    I think the Bulls are going to destroy us. Deron Williams showed how hard it is for the Spurs to deal with a super-talented, extra-large point guard who can take it to the hoop, and that’s exactly what Rose does. If D-Will was able to get the same crossover layup right at the rim over and over again, I’m scared to see what Rose can do.

  • LonghornMike

    I thought Oberto was at the game b/c he had dinner plans with Scola and Ginobili. I don’t see him suiting up again.

  • Bankshot21

    I can see Fabricio as a consultant of sorts to Tiago. Not as a player but more so as a big man coach ala Patrick Ewing with Yao Ming and Dwight Howard. Absolutely no way in hell i’d give him a jersey and tell him to lace em up. He was great towards us getting our 4th but some of you forget about the deterioration since then. Let the past be the past, unless you want to get Speedy Claxton, and Nazr Mohammed back also. Lmao

  • Bankshot21

    Rose is not better than Deron Williams. He’s got a quicker 1st step and that’s about where it ends. He’s not going to crossover into a jumper as efficiently as D.Will and he’s not going to bully George Hill physically the way Williams did. I’ll bet the farm we contain D.Rose way better than we contained D.Will.

  • DorieStreet

    @ TD=BEST EVER

    After watching the Celtics vs. Blazers & Lakers/I am with you on that. Boston’s front court roster: SF- 2@ 6’7″; PF- 6’9″ & 6’11″; C- 2@ 6’10”, 6′ 11″, 7′ 1″. Eight players- & there are rumors the Celtics are still trying to lure Rasheed Wallace out of retirement. Thursday’s game will let us know if the Spurs have the talent & mindset now to beat the Lakers, but we still need a quality big to go all the way vs East Champ–whoever it is.

  • DorieStreet

    @ Mano E Manu

    I’ll say it first -Derrick Rose might have the drive and competitiveness that matches the guy he grew up watching (#23). The key for us is stopping Boozer & Deng. The Spurs bench is equal, if not better than Chicago’s. Too bad Noah will not be playing in that game. The biggest obstacle for San Antonio is will be the last game on that road trip. HEY!!!–we are looking too far ahead. Let’s start off with a win in the Rose City tomorrow night.

  • DorieStreet

    @ Bankshot21

    Thank you for that post. Or as Rick Pitino put it: “Larry Byrd is not walking through that door.” For us, it is Bruce & Horry. Stop pining about them not being on the roster. Find new, younger players with their talent & drive. Goodnight