Third-quarter surge propels Rockets to victory

Third-quarter surge propels Rockets to victory
October 24, 2013, 11:00 pm
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Highlights: Rockets roll over Spurs

(Soobum Im - USA Today Sports Images)

If the first basket of the game was any indication of what was about to unfold in San Antonio on Thursday night, then the Rockets should have felt very good about their chances to look good. They did look good, beating the Spurs, 109-92 to run their preseason record to 5-1. James Harden led the was for Houston with 22 points and 11 assists. Dwight Howard added 16 rebounds and 15 points.

Now back to the first basket. After both teams came up empty on their first possessions of the game, Dwight Howard and James Harden ran the pick-and-roll with Howard catching a bounce pass from Harden at the top of the lane. He dribbled once and then rammed down a monster slam. Those were probably the loudest of the Rockets points and they would actually represent the lead the Rockets held at halftime, 47-45.

After San Antonio tied the game at 47 to open the second half, the Rockets went on an impressive 34-12 run to blow the game open. As is usually the case with a run of that nature, the Rockets were locking things down on the defensive end. They forced four Spurs turnovers and held them to 6-for-15 shooting.

Meanwhile, the Rockets were running and gunning their way to a 22-point lead, getting exactly the shots they covet, those right at the goal and the ones just beyond the three point arc.

Houston had four dunks, three coming from Howard, three layups and four 3-pointers during the run that lasted less than 10 minutes. The game was clearly over at that point and most of the starters spent the rest of the game on the bench. Houston plays Friday night in Memphis, but coach Kevin McHale was non-committal about his plans for how he'll use everybody in Memphis.

The Rockets came into the game leading the NBA in scoring at just over 109 points per game. They hit their average despite getting only two points from their starters in the fourth quarter.

Houston made 13 more 3-pointers, led by Omri Casspi's 4-for-8 performance. It was the fourth consecutive game that the Rockets made at least 13 3-pointers.