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.