Nov 9, 2016; San Antonio, TX, USA; Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden (13) drives to the basket while guarded by San Antonio Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard (2) during the second half at AT&T Center. The rockets won 101-99. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
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Houston Rockets gutted out a victory over the San Antonio Spurs and look to make it two in a row this time on their home court.
The Houston Rockets are finally back home after an exhausting 5-game road trip. Generally the first game back from a long road trip is one teams tend to have a let down. It’s not an intentional drop in play, more of a natural instinct for the players to relax coming back home. I’ve been asked about this phenomenon over the years and the closest analogy I can provide is when you return from vacation. How many times have you traveled for business or vacation only to say I need a couple days to recover? In essence that’s what players go through returning home.
That said the Rockets will buoyed from what was a huge win in San Antonio on Wednesday evening. Once more James Harden was at his best dishing assists, but along with that came more turnovers. While many are cringing over those turnovers it’s important to have some patience with Harden as he adjusts to being a full time point guard.
Nov 9, 2016; San Antonio, TX, USA; Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden (13) drives to the basket while guarded by San Antonio Spurs shooting guard Manu Ginobili (20) during the second half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Round 1: Dejounte Murray (29)
Round 2: N/A
Bryn Forbes : given a guaranteed contract beyond Summer League
Oct 21, 2016; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs power forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12, left) and Kawhi Leonard (2, right) talk on the bench during the second half against the Houston Rockets at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 4, 2016; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich (left) talks with guard Manu Ginobili (20) on the bench during the second half against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena. San Antonio won 100-86. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 27, 2016; Sacramento, CA, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker (9) during the game against the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center. The Spurs won the game 102-94. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports
Patrick Beverley – rotoworld reports Beverley is ahead of schedule following the knee scope and anticipates a mid November return. Targeting November 21.
San Antonio Spurs:
Tony Parker – knee, will not play
Danny Green who has missed several games with an injured quadricep is slated to play on Wednesday
Nov 9, 2016; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs power forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) is fouled by Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden (13) during the first half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Fight the fatigue: As mentioned the first game back from a long road trip most players have a hard time finding their game flow and fighting fatigue. Look for D’Antoni to utilize his bench extensively to help in this regard.
Limit Kawhi: The Rockets did a good job the other night of keeping Kawhi in check. They’ll need to replicate that effort tonight.
Bench Warriors: Both teams feature plenty of youthful talent. Last time out K.J. McDaniels played just 5 minutes, so hopefully D’Antoni will utilize him more in this outing. It would be great to see Eric Gordon, McDaniels, Dekker and potentially Harrell begin to develop a chemistry and there’s no better time to start then on their home court after a road trip.
Match Spurs effort: San Antonio is in an unusual position having lost 3 games in the past week (Jazz, Clippers, Rockets). Knowing how consistent the Spurs are you can expect Popovich to have them dialed in to even the score (just like they did versus the Jazz last week). The key will be to maintain focus, energy and a consistent effort defensively.
For more details on the squads check out the 2016-17 team previews: