The San Antonio Spurs' offense has abruptly cooled off and the losses are quickly mounting. Despite the suddenly sluggish offense, Tim Duncan probably likes his chances of becoming the seventh member of the 20,000-point club against the Houston Rockets.
Duncan, one point shy of reaching that milestone, looks to help the Spurs get their offense back on track and avoid losing for the fourth time in five games Friday night when they host the Rockets.
San Antonio (25-16) opened a six-game homestand Wednesday with a 105-98 loss to Utah, allowing the Jazz to sweep the season series for the first time since 1993-94. It also marked the Spurs' third loss in four games after losing only four times in its previous 19.
Poor shooting is to blame for San Antonio's little slide. The Spurs shot 39.3 percent and made just 6 of 21 shots from beyond the arc (28.6 percent) Wednesday, and are averaging 89.3 points on 40.4 percent shooting in their last four after averaging 105.2 points on 51.5 percent shooting in winning four of their previous five.
"We need to shoot the ball better. We were God awful in that area," Gregg Popovich said. "It's going to make things really tough if you shoot that poorly."
San Antonio appears to have a decent chance to fix its offensive woes, as the Rockets (23-18) have been shaky on defense lately, allowing an average of 107.2 points in their last six games.
Duncan had a rough night shooting the ball against Utah, going 5 of 15 from the field and finishing with 14 points - leaving him at 19,999.
Duncan, who was named to his 12th All-Star Game on Thursday, has never been held without a point in 937 career games. He had 21 points and 12 rebounds in a 92-84 win at Houston on Nov. 27, the only other meeting between these teams this season.
Tony Parker added 19 points and seven assists against the Rockets and is averaging 23.0 points and 9.0 assists in the last three games in the series.
Houston hasn't played since a 101-98 overtime victory over Milwaukee on Monday to improve to 3-5 this month, but none of those victories are high-profile ones.
In addition to the Bucks, Houston has also defeated Minnesota and New York - teams with losing records - while losing to New Orleans, Phoenix, Charlotte, Miami and the Los Angeles Lakers - all teams above .500.
The Rockets haven't defeated a team with a winning record since a 97-94 victory over Dallas on New Year's Eve to finish 11-5 in December.
"I don't think we are as connected as we were earlier in the year," forward Shane Battier said. "There are different reasons for that, but this is the time to turn it around."
Although the past three weeks have been a struggle for the Rockets, Luis Scola gave the team another encouraging performance Monday.
Scola scored a season-high 27 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, and is averaging 19.4 points on 59.7 percent shooting in his last five games after averaging 12.3 points on 48.5 percent shooting in his previous six. The 6-foot-9 forward had 18 points and 12 boards in the November loss to the Spurs.
No Asterisks in this life, it's all about scoreboard - Ari Gold
NBA.com - Referee Assignments
Jan 22, 2010
Houston @ San Antonio--Derrick Stafford, David Guthrie, Courtney Kirkland
In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress.
We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.
---Winston Churchill (1903)
We need a win!
NO D, NO RING!!!!
With 26 points on 4 of 4 shots from distance in only 20 minutes of PT. Efficient eviceration.
Wolves' fan: ginobili vs. the wolves is like he's just kind of laughing to himself all game...kind of like he thinks it's cute that they're trying to play basketball.
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