The San Antonio Spurs opened a tough four games in six nights stretch for the holiday weekend. Their first test came against the red-hot Houston Rockets, where they would need a massive rally to cool off their in-state rivals.
Kawhi Leonard scored 21 points as he helped lead the Spurs rally for a 102-100 win over the Rockets inside the Toyota Center on Tuesday night.
LaMarcus Aldridge added 17 points with 10 rebounds. Patty Mills chipped in 13, including the game-winning three-pointer with 12.9 seconds to play. Pau Gasol had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds for San Antonio, who won their fifth straight.
“They showed as much toughness mentally as they did physically,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said after the game. “I was really happy with our stick-to-it-ness.”
San Antonio trailed by 13 with 4:30 to play. Houston got sloppy and the Spurs would convert on a 3-pointer by Danny Green and Patty Mills two threes proved to be huge, giving San Antonio the lead for good.
The Rockets were led by James Harden’s 31 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. Trevor Ariza added 16 for Houston (21-8), who had their 10-game winning streak snapped.
”It’s real tough, especially when we let two big leads slip away,” Harden said. ”We’ve got to close the game out. … I didn’t close the right way. We didn’t close the right way as a team.”
Houston took a nine point lead and 13-point lead in the second half. However, turnovers and missed three’s proved to do the Rockets in. Houston finished 6-of-38 from beyond the arc.
”The biggest thing that happened is that we had about three or four wide open shots we missed,” Houston coach Mike D’Antoni said.
Up next: The Spurs are now 23-5 on the season and will return to the court on Thursday night when they take on the Los Angeles Clippers at 9:30 p.m. inside the Staples Center.