By Adam Spolane

Chris Paul scored 28 points and dished out eight assists as the Rockets won for the 12th straight game, beating the San Antonio Spurs 124-109 Friday night at Toyota Center.

Paul made 10-of-18 shots from the field, 5-of-9 from behind the 3-point line, and added seven steals for the Rockets who never trailed in the game, and improved their NBA-best record to 23-4.

Houston took an early 9-2 thanks to three pointers from Paul and Trevor Ariza. In between, James Harden added three free throws. The Spurs scored the next six points to get within one, but Houston answered with a 13-4 run to get the lead to double digits, and after LaMarcus Aldridge hit a 14-footer with 3:51 left in the first quarter, the Rockets closed the quarter on a 9-2 run to take a 31-16 lead into the second quarter.

The teams traded buckets to start the second quarter, but the Rockets followed that with an 18-5 spurt to balloon their lead to 28, which would be their largest of the night, though the Spurs the Spurs closed the half strong, pulling to within 17 at the break. Paul finished the half with 13 points and six assists, while Harden added 13 points of his own, but only canned 2-of-10 shots from the field. He made up for it at the free throw line, where he knocked down 8-of-10 attempts.

After halftime, the team’s traded baskets on four straight possessions, but Ariza knocked down a three-pointer and then Clint Capela scored the next six points to get the Rockets lead back to 26. The third quarter ended with the Rockets up 92-72. The Spurs trimmed the lead a bit in the fourth, but never got closer than 14 points as they drop to 19-10 on the season, five games back of the Rockets for first place in the Southwest Division.

Harden equaled Paul’s 28 points, but he shot just 6-of-18 from the field. He did attempt 16 free throws, knocking down 14, and added seven rebounds and six assists.

All five starters scored in double figures for the Rockets with Capela chipping in 18, Ryan Anderson 12, and Ariza 11. Eric Gordon also scored 14 points off the bench.

Aldridge led the Spurs with 16 points, but he only made 8-of-21 field goal attempts. after scoring 43 points on 40 percent in the first half, the Spurs scored 66 points on 57 percent shooting in the second, using mostly bench players.

The Rockets drained 18-of-50 three-point attempts. It’s the 18th time this season they’ve made at least 15, and they are 18-0 in those games.


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