San Antonio (17 - 4)
Houston (9 - 10)
By SANTOSH VENKATARAMAN
STATS Senior Writer
(AP) -- Kevin McHale wasn't with the Houston Rockets for last week's blowout loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
He could be hard-pressed to make adjustments that will slow down the Spurs as these Southwest Division rivals meet Monday night in Houston.
McHale rejoined the Rockets (9-10) for Saturday's 116-109 defeat to Dallas. The coach spent almost a month away from the team, and returned two weeks after the death of his daughter.
"It was different being out there again," McHale said. "I had been away for a long time and we had put in some stuff. I've got to get caught up, so these next few days will be good for us."
The last game Houston played without McHale, Kelvin Sampson was interim coach for last Friday's 114-92 loss at San Antonio (17-4). Six different Spurs reached double figures as they led by as many as 33 points and outscored the Rockets 60-38 in the paint.
That disparity in points was probably what the Spurs' last opponent had in mind when Charlotte decided to pack the paint Saturday. That strategy didn't work because Danny Green made a career-high seven of San Antonio's franchise-record 19 3-pointers in a 132-102 rout.
"We were driving and kicking and moving the ball," said Green, who scored a season-high 23 points. "It makes the game a lot easier when you're making shots."
Tim Duncan was only needed to contribute 11 points in the Spurs' highest-scoring effort since a 133-111 win over Minnesota on April 12, 2010.
"We've been really good about moving the ball and we're really getting on the same page with that," Duncan said. "When our guys get open shots they knock them down. So if they don't want to concede them in the paint, we will hurt them on the outside."
The Spurs have won four straight and nine of 10, with the lone defeat the infamous loss at Miami in which Gregg Popovich left four key players at home.
San Antonio is second in the NBA with 104.6 points per game while Houston is allowing an NBA-worst average of 103.9.
The poor defense is a major reason why the Rockets have trailed by at least 17 points in each of their last three games. They are at a loss to figure out how to improve.
"Communication, transition defense, help-side defense, just everything," forward Chandler Parsons said. "We've got a lot of work to do. Our offense is fine, we can't worry about that."
Offense hasn't been a problem for James Harden, who followed up a 29-point effort in the loss to the Spurs with 39 versus the Mavericks.
Struggling point guard Jeremy Lin, however, logged a season-low 18 minutes in McHale's first game back. Lin has totaled 15 points in his last three games.
"That's a coach thing and that's their decision and I totally respect that," Lin said. "We're all in it together and we're on a team. Everybody goes through their own ups and downs."
The Rockets have won their last three home games over the Spurs.
Last edited by Eddy from Austin; 12-10-12 at 01:52 AM.
Very Tough SW Div rival game in H Town.
Rockets got their coach back and played okay still lost to the Mavs on Sat.
We know that Harden and Lin will play tougher at Home.
Harden is still a Turn Over Machine averaging the highest about 4.1 per game. Spurs can capitalize on their STEALS again!!!
Spurs TEAM win even if they took them to Double OT!!!!!
Go Spurs Go
Go Spurs Go!
Spurs need to wipe that last game against HTown away and stay focused and determined. Houston is dangerous specially with the emotional aspect of Kevin being back as coach after the tragedy..
If so they win easily by dd's - 115 - 98
I’m going to say what I said before the last game with Houston and it applies here again – Harden will get his points but we still need to shut down Asik, Parsons and the outside shooting of Cook and Delfino. Delfino, in the last game, showed signs of warming up by hitting a couple 3s but our defense prevailed. Our defense still needs to step up and with Jackson and Leonard still out, the bench have to play ‘their’ game and provide energy to back up the starters. But Houston is tough at home and as someone has already posted, is charged with the return of McHale at the helm. The final score will be closer than last game but I feel we can pull it out.
Why does Superman stop bullets with his chest, but ducks when you throw a revolver at him?
Great game tonight. Neil was fantastic with that career-high in scoring. It definitely shows that Jeremy Lynn and James Harden did not complement each other well. Lynn was fantastic without Hartin there to have to share the ball with.
Just Awesome to hear those fans cheering in H Town!
I say Spurs fans in H town REPRESENTED Very Well I was able to see a lot on the screen with Spurs Jersey!!!
Spurs Nailed the W with Neal!!!!
What is Tougher than a Nail? Gary "Freaking" Neal!
LOL @ Gary said to the reporter after the game that he was not as impressed with his career high of 29 more than his career minutes of 35:02
Tony Parker (MVP Like) carried the Spurs with his First Triple Double!!! GREAT HUSTLES and GREAT FOCUS! God Bless our TP!
Manu was unbelievable all game long with his GREAT HUSTLE then he hits those TIMELY DAGGERS and free throws in the fourth to seal IT!
Timmy was in foul trouble but he did those little things that gets you in the game such as Great Rebounding and 3 blocks and hitting all his 8 free throws ... He was Aggressive enough to keep Spurs in that game and he ended up with double double.
GREEN was Very Special. He played outstanding D and he hit some Key Shots all game long. Green was great!
All Spurs played great. This was not an easy game to win because Coach Kevin PUMPED his team with Confidence real good. Jeremy Lin did an unbelievable job.
Rockets players were playing so aggressive on D and connecting on their shots pretty good. Lin could become better now with Coach Kevin giving him the team to lead while Harden is injured. Obviously these two are not playing well together!! Coach Kevin probably is facing a dilemma there as Harden comes back...
Inflating that PUMPED UP Monster of those young Rockets on the road was not an easy job.
Give Pop and his Coaching Staff a lot of credit! Again Pop is the best now. Despite the Spurs are not the best team now... They will be come after March...
Side Note: Charles Barkley said yesterday on the Dan Patrick radio show that the best team in the league is OKC by far now, then Memphis is behind them, then the Spurs come third!!
GREAT GRIND It W for our Spurs on the Road!!!!!
Way to Go Spurs!
Go Spurs Go!
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