5 things to watch: Spurs vs. Rockets

The San Antonio Spurs (14-2) host their Texas rival, Houston Rockets (12-5), tonight at the AT&T Center.

The Spurs are coming off a 109-91 win over Orlando. Tim Duncan led the Spurs with 19 points and 9 rebounds. Marco Belinelli chipped in with 19 points as well in the win.

The Rockets are coming off a 114-95 win over the Nets. Chandler Parsons paced Houston with 21 points in the win.

And as the Spurs look to flex their home dominance versus the Rockets, here are five things to watch for in tonight's contest:

• The Spurs are 7-0 home, where they have also won seven straight against the Rockets.

• The Rockets are 10-2 this season when leading at halftime.

• The Rockets are 0-2 this season when their opponent shoots 50 percent for better.

• The Spurs are 6-0 when leading after the third quarter at home.

• The Spurs are 7-0 when they dish out more assists than their opponent at home.

5 Things to Watch: Spurs vs. Rockets

Houston RocketsThe San Antonio Spurs will get their first look at the new-look Houston Rockets. The last time the Spurs saw Dwight Howard, it was in Game 4 of the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs, which the Spurs swept.

Howard has since moved a little closer to San Antonio, and in the Southwest Division with the Rockets and joins forces with James Harden to form a likely contender in the Western Conference.

Here are a few things to keep an eye on during tonight’s preseason game, which will be televised on TNT.

• Kevin McHale went with the Howard-Asik frontcourt combo in their last game and the results weren’t great, according to The Dream Shake. It’ll be interesting to see how they do together if they both start again tonight.

• James Harden was recently named as the best shooting guard in the NBA in the annual GM survey, ahead of Kobe Bryant, Stephen Curry and Dwyane Wade. While it’s still preseason, that may give Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green some extra motivation on defense tonight. Harden has always played well against the Spurs, and the Spurs perimeter defenders will do their best to try to limit him.

• The Spurs started Cory Joseph and kept Tony Parker out of their last game against the Magic. We’ll see tonight if Parker’s bruised left hand will keep him out another game.

• While Cory Joseph started last game, Patty Mills finished with 22 points and five steals, proving that the battle for backup point guard is not over yet. With Joseph getting his start against the Magic, we’ll see if Spurs coach Gregg Popovich gives Mills his shot tonight.

• The Rockets have been shooting at a blistering 41 percent from beyond the arc during preseason play. It’s been a big reason for their 4-1 preseason record, and the Spurs will have to hold court on the perimeter to avoid going below .500 for the preseason.

About Michael A. De Leon

Michael founded Project Spurs in 2004. He started The Spurscast, the first Spurs podcast on the Internet, in 2005. Michael has been interviewed by the BBC, SportTalk, the Sports Reporters Radio Show, MemphisSportLive, OKC Sports Wrap and ESPN radio among others. He is a credentialed member of the media for the San Antonio Spurs and Austin Toros. He is also the founder of Project Spurs' sister sites, Toros Nation and Stars Hoops.

5 things to watch: Spurs vs. Rockets

The San Antonio Spurs (15-4) will host their division rival Houston Rockets (9-8) tonight in San Antonio.

The Spurs are coming off a win over the Bucks led by Tony Parker's 22 points, and 10 assists and Tim Duncan's 17 points, 10 rebounds. The Spurs used a late 16-2 run that busted the game open on their way to a 110-99 victory.

The Rockets are coming off a comeback win over the Lakers. The Rockets erased a 17-point deficit to win 107-105, outscoring Los Angeles by 34-22 in the fourth quarter. Houston is 2-5 this season on the road and are 6-4 in their last 10 games.

And as the Spurs get set to face James Harden and the Rockets, here are five things to watch for during tonight's contest.

• The Rockets have dropped five straight road games from 11/9/12-11/28/12. Houston has yet to defeat a Western Conference team on the road this season. In addition, the Rockets have lost nine road games in a row to Southwest Division opponents.

• The Rockets are 3-0 when shooting 50% or more in a game.

• Rockets' Chandler Parsons has an active career-high streak of 10 consecutive double-digit scoring games from 11/12/12-12/4/12.
 
• The Spurs are 5-0 at home when outshooting their opponent.
 
• The Spurs’ 8-2 conference winning percentage is the best in the Western Conference.
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