The last time the Rockets played at Toyota Center, they lost to Portland by 17 points. Three weeks later, little changed with the San Antonio Spurs in town. The Rockets were held by 31 points in the first half and trailed by as many as 31 in a 104-94 loss.
It took the Rockets close to five minutes to hit their first shot from the field. They shot 28 percent for the first quarter, while San Antonio knocked down 12-of-18 from the field for a 26-11 lead after the first 12 minutes.
San Antonio started the second quarter with an 8-2 run, but with 4:31 left in the half, Dwight Howard cut the lead to 11 with a dunk. Kawhi Leonard answered with a three and after the team’s traded buckets a couple of times, San Antonio scored eight straight to get the lead back to 20, which is how the first half ended.
With 5:00 left in the third quarter the Spurs built their lead up to 31. Houston cut it to 19 by the end of the third quarter, but Corey Brewer’s runner with 8 seconds left in the game brough the deficit to 10 for the first time since the second quarter.
James Harden led the Rockets with 27 points on 10-of-24 shooting. He was limited to just four free throw attempts and two assists.
Kawhi Leonard led San Antonio with 27 points, LaMarcus Aldridge added 26 and 16 rebounds.
The loss drops the Rockets to 29-30 on the season, still a half game up on Utah for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Spurs improve to 50-9.