NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Monday, April 14th
(All times Eastern)
San Antonio Spurs (62-18) at Houston Rockets (53-27). 8 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - For how well the San Antonio Spurs have played this
season, the Houston Rockets have had their number.
The Rockets go for a rare season sweep of the Spurs when the two Southwest
Division foes tangle Monday at the Toyota Center.
Houston has won the first three meetings with San Antonio this season, marking
its first series win since 1996-97 (3-1). The last time the Rockets swept the
Spurs in a season series was 1988-89 (6-0).
San Antonio, which has lost the last four matchups between the Texas squads,
leads the all-time series by a 97-79 margin.
The Rockets ended a two-game slide with Saturday's 111-104 win over the New
Orleans Pelicans and were led by James Harden's 33 points and 13 assists.
Patrick Beverley scored 20 points in his return from an eight-game absence due
to a knee injury and Jeremy Lin added 18 points off the bench for Houston,
which needed a 39-22 advantage in the fourth quarter to pull away.
"We had that 'pull a rabbit out your hat' tonight," said Rockets coach Kevin
McHale, whose club ended the game on a 15-0 run. "We have got to get another
win before our season ends to guarantee home-court in the first round. That's
what we want."
Dwight Howard also returned from an eight-game absence for the Rockets with an
ankle injury and recorded 13 points with six rebounds in 29 minutes of action.
The Pelicans were playing without All-Star Anthony Davis, Eric Gordon, Tyreke
Evans and Brian Roberts. Houston forward Chandler Parsons missed the game with
injuries to his wrist and hip, and is questionable Monday.
Houston has won four of its last six games and is fourth in the Western
Conference standings, just a half-game ahead of idle Portland.
San Antonio has won two straight and three of four games since having its
franchise-record 19-game winning streak stopped April 3 at Oklahoma City. In a
112-104 victory versus Phoenix last Friday, Danny Green knocked down seven
3-pointers and netted 33 points to help the Spurs lock up the NBA's best
Green was 12-of-17 from the field and 7-of-10 from beyond the arc.
"Not every shot felt good, but for some reason they were dropping," Green said
Tony Parker, who sat out Thursday's victory against the Dallas Mavericks with
a bruised shin, put in 18 points for San Antonio. Kawhi Leonard also had 18
points and Tim Duncan rested.
Spurs guard Manu Ginobili (calf) is questionable against Houston.
The Spurs will close out the regular season Wednesday versus the Los Angeles
Lakers in the Alamo City, where they have won 15 in a row.
04/14 10:31:42 ET