12/16 00:51 CST Paul, Rockets rout Spurs 124-109 for 12th straight victory
Paul, Rockets rout Spurs 124-109 for 12th straight victory
HOUSTON (AP) --- Chris Paul delivered on a night James Harden had one of his
worst shooting performances of the season.
Paul had 28 points, eight assists and seven steals to lead the Houston Rockets
to their 12th straight victory, a 124-109 win over the San Antonio Spurs on
Paul became the first player in NBA history to post 28 points, eight assists
and seven steals in a game against the Spurs. In the past 11 seasons, that stat
line has been achieved just 10 times --- Paul has done it six of them. The
Rockets are unbeaten when he plays this season.
"What I lack in athletic ability, I just try to make up for it in anticipation
and knowing the game," Paul said of his steals. "I'm not jumping and dunking on
nobody and all that stuff like that, but I've got a pretty good idea how to
Paul's dazzling performance came with Harden making 6 of 18 from the field,
including 2 of 11 from 3. Harden still had 28 points, seven rebounds and six
assists, scoring half his points on 14-of-16 shooting from the free throw line.
"We complement each other, and we're staying good at getting guys involved
while we're being aggressive as well," Harden said. "Obviously, Chris had his
shot going tonight, but he got Clint (Capela) dunks and Trevor (Ariza) and Eric
(Gordon) 3s, and Ryan (Anderson) 3s. Nights aren't going to be perfect, and we
just got to figure it out. Keep pushing and keep grinding."
The Rockets are on the fourth-longest win streak in franchise history and the
longest since a franchise-best 22 straight in 2007-08.
The Rockets beat the Spurs for just the third time in their last 12 meetings.
LaMarcus Aldridge led the Spurs with 16 points.
"I thought our starting group, our veteran group, started out the game very
badly with fouls that were unnecessary, bad communication, turnovers, that sort
of thing," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "But as the game went on, I thought
the younger guys and the guys that haven't played as much, the energy was
great. They took better care of the basketball and were more physical and
focused. Our starting group let us down."
The Rockets jumped to a 31-16 lead at the end of the first quarter and led
60-43 at the half. The Rockets entered the fourth quarter with a 92-72 lead.
At 23-4, the Rockets are tied for their best 27-game start in franchise
history, matching the 1993-94 season when they won their first championship.
"We can get better," Paul said. "The scary part is when you think you've
arrived. We can get better offensively and defensively, but right now, it's
just about piling up wins."
Kawhi Leonard played in his second game back after making his season debut on
Tuesday night in Dallas after missing the first 27 games of the season with a
right quadriceps injury. Leonard, who has been recovering from a quadriceps
condition that causes pain and weakness in the knee, started and had 12 points
in 17 minutes, all in the first half.
"I want to play and do what I can do to help the team win, but I know the
situation I'm in and I've got to take the right steps to get back," Leonard
said. "Playing 16 minutes and not playing a full game, it's hard to tell where
I'm at. But I think we're taking the right steps."
Before the game, Popovich hinted that Leonard and Tony Parker were unlikely to
play Saturday night in Dallas in the second half of San Antonio's back-to-back.
Spurs: SF Kyle Anderson missed his sixth straight game with a sprained left
MCL, but he is progressing well and could return after San Antonio's
back-to-back in Houston and Dallas, possibly as early as Monday when the Spurs
host the Clippers. ... Danny Green started and played through left groin
tightness, scoring two points in 19 minutes.
Rockets: Houston played its first game without Luc Mbah a Moute, who suffered a
dislocated right shoulder on Wednesday night against Charlotte. Mbah a Moute
could be out 2-3 weeks with the injury. ... The Rockets improved to 19-1 when
leading after the third quarter, winning by double digits for the 17th time in
SCORING ON THE SPURS
Houston's 124 points were the most San Antonio had allowed in a regulation game
since Mar. 8, 2013, in a 136-106 loss to Portland. It was also the most points
the Rockets had scored in a regulation game against the Spurs since Apr. 3,
1986, when Houston scored 136.
On the one-year anniversary of the passing of NBA sideline reporter Craig
Sager, the Rockets hosted Sager's wife, Stacy, along with other family and
friends at the game. There was a tribute video played in the first quarter, and
both the Rockets and Spurs donated $25,000 to the SagerStrong Foundation. The
First Shot was attempted by Sager's daughter, Riley Sager. Sager swished her
pregame free throw attempt, securing a $5,000 donation from the Rockets to the
The Rockets hit a Spurs opponent season-high 18 3-pointers. Houston improved to
18-0 when making 15 or more 3s. The 18 games with 15 or more 3s made is already
the fourth-highest single-season total in NBA history.
Spurs: Host Dallas on Saturday night.
Rockets: Host Milwaukee on Saturday night.
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