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Rockets Spoil Pop’s Birthday With 97-90 Win

By Alex Del Barrio, Sportsradio 610
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(Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)

(Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)

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HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) –  The Houston Rockets rallied back from a 15-point first half deficit and led by as many as 11 in a 97-90 win over the San Antonio Spurs Tuesday night at Toyota Center. The win gives the Rockets their first season series over the Spurs since the 1996-97 season, the year before Tim Duncan was drafted.

The Rockets took the lead for good on a thrilling back and forth sequence that also saw Manu Ginobili leave the game for good. Ginobili tied the game at 56 with a driving duck at the rim. On the ensuing Rockets possession Chandler Parsons took the ball to the rim himself for an emphatic slam of his own to give Houston a 58-56 lead, which they would not relinquish.

Ginobili left the game with 4:59 in the third and did not return. The Spurs were already playing without Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green and Tiago Splitter.

The Spurs would not go away in the fourth despite Houston building an 11 point lead with Jeremy Lin’s three-point play. with 9:10 to play in the game.

Marco Belinelli drained a three-pointer with 1:47 remaining to pull the Spurs within two. The Rockets responded with a Dwight Howard offensive rebound and thunderous slam dunk which brought the Toyota Center crowd to their feet. After a Parker miss, Lin came back to bank a fall away bank shot from 15 feet away to build the lead back to six. Howard would add a free throw to seal it at 97-90.

Howard led all scorers with 23 points, adding 16 boards, with seven on the offensive glass. Terrence Jones finished with a rebound shy of a double-double as he chipped in with 21. Lin, who started for the injured James Harden, added 18 points and eight assists.

Tim Duncan scored 12 points and grabbed 14 rebounds with four blocked shots in the loss.

The Rockets won’t have time to rest as they travel to Dallas on Wednesday to face the Dallas Mavericks. The Spurs, return home Wednesday to face the visiting Chicago Bulls.

Follow Alex Del Barrio on Twitter: @ADBSportsguy

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