With 1:23 remaining in the midst of a Tony Parker 10-0 run, Patrick Beverly of the Houston Rockets blocked a Danny Green layup where Green had a 3-on-2 advantage with Parker and Kawhi Leonard by his side (93-89). When the Rockets took the ball back to their side, the end result was a Chandler Parsons 3-pointer that cut the Spurs’ lead to one (93-92).
Parker would make two more free throws to give the Spurs a 95-92 lead over the Rockets with 1:07 remaining, but it would be the last time he touched the ball, and the last time his team scored. James Harden would then score the last four points of the game, no shot bigger than a contested jumper he made with 4.5 seconds remaining in the game.
The Spurs would run plays between Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan on their final three possessions, but not one of those attempts would go in as the Rockets held on to win 96-95.
Here’s the rundown of the Spurs’ loss in their series finale to the Rockets in Houston.
First Quarter: Spurs 20, Rockets 22
Player of the quarter: Duncan – 7 points in first – Duncan was one of the consistent members for the Spurs knocking down his outside shots and even putting Donatas Motiejunas into foul trouble with an and-1 up-and-under foul. Though he didn’t have any blocks, Duncan had a steal and wasn’t allowing Harden into the paint on screens. Duncan would finish the evening with 17 points, seven rebounds, five turnovers, and two blocks.
Play of the quarter: Green block – Early in the first quarter, Danny Green blocked a lay-up attempt by the Rockets on a fast-break. The block was spectacular because Green blocked it from behind and above the square on the backboard.
Second quarter: Spurs 46, Rockets 43
Players of the quarter: Patrick Beverly – 11 points on 4-of-4 shooting. Beverly was the surprise off the bench for the Rockets as he knocked down two 3-pointers and kept his scoring in “on”-mode as the Spurs didn’t have many answers for stopping him before the half. Beverly would get quiet in the second half as he didn’t score again, but he did have a key block on Green in the fourth quarter.
Kawhi Leonard: Leonard went into halftime with nine points, and no points were more impressive than a two handed dunk he made from a Nando De Colo pass. Leonard finished the game with 12 points and six rebounds. Though he had been key in hitting big 3-pointers as of late for the Spurs, Sunday his shot was absent in the clutch as he had a chance to give the Spurs the lead with a corner 3-pointer, but instead the ball hit the side of the backboard.
Play of the quarter: Nando steal to Kawhi dunk – Midway through the second, the Rockets inbounded the ball; De Colo quickly snatched the ball and fed an open pass to Leonard for a monster two-handed dunk.
Third Quarter: Spurs 67, Rockets 74
Player of the quarter: Harden – As the Spurs’ offense went cold in the third quarter, Harden and the Rockets got hot as the Rockets outscored the Spurs 31-21 with Harden ending the third with 23 points, seven rebounds, and five assists.
Fourth Quarter: Spurs 95, Rockets 96
Player of the quarter: Harden – Aside from his game winning jump shot that he made, Harden was responsible for scoring six points in the fourth quarter. Harden finished the game with 29 points, nine rebounds, six assists, two steals, and two blocks. Should the Oklahoma City Thunder not win the NBA Championship in the playoffs, they might wonder if letting Harden go was the right decision? Harden was also consistent in drawing fouls as he made 15 of his 17 free throws.
Player of the quarter: Parker – Parker went on his own 12-3 run that gave the Spurs the lead. He was slicing through the Rockets defense, drawing fouls, and even hitting jumpers when his team needed the baskets. Parker finished his second game back from injury with 23 points, seven assists, and two blocks in 35 minutes.
Play of the quarter: Smith dunk on Splitter – Early in the fourth quarter, Rockets forward Greg Smith dunked on Tiago Splitter as the Toyota Center erupted with emotion. Splitter would finish the game with 10 points and six rebounds.
Streaking Nuggets on Wednesday
The Spurs will have a few days off to prepare for the streaking Denver Nuggets who have won 15 games in a row. Before meeting San Antonio on Wednesday, the Nuggets will face the New Orleans Hornets. So there is a chance the Nuggets could come into the AT&T Center with a 16-game winning streak.
Where San Antonio stands
Here are a few stats showing where the Spurs stand in certain categories in the NBA. With the loss, the Spurs hold a 1.5 game lead over the Oklahoma City Thunder (52-19) with 12 games remaining on the season.
Season record: 53-17
Road Record: 23-13
Vs. the Western Conference: 30-13
Games decided by 3 points or less: 6-3
Vs. teams above .500: 22-10