San Antonio Spurs 121, Houston Rockets 103

Grades

For the game recap, click here.

By Sarah Cilea

Kawhi Leonard | A

In a rare occurrence, Kawhi failed to log a single steal or block.  But he had an almost sneaky good performance on offense.  Despite drawing double-teams consistently, Leonard scored an efficient 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting (2-of-2 from three) with six rebounds and two assists.  He telegraphed a few passes out of the double in the second half, but the more practice he gets in those situations during the regular season, the better.


 

LaMarcus Aldridge | A

LaMarcus Aldridge was huge.  He got a nice boost from an early stint with Patty Mills, Manu Ginobili, David West and Danny Green, scoring eight points in a row from 3:37 to the 2:06 mark of the first quarter via some nice ball movement.  After that, he was in All-Star form, scoring 11 of the Spurs’ 36 points in a game-changing third quarter.  He finished with a game high 24 points (10-of-16, 4-of-4 FT), nine rebounds,and two steals. As Tom Orsborn of the SA Express-News pointed out on Twitter, this and Wednesday’s game vs the Suns mark the first consecutive 20-point outings of the season for Aldridge.   


 

Tim Duncan | C

This was a tough call.  It was Duncan’s first game in eight days.  He looked a step slow at times, allowing Dwight Howard to get loose for some dunks, plus the foul.  He went 0-of-3 from the floor, grabbed four rebounds, and handed out a couple assists.  Apparently it was the first time in his career he’s gone scoreless.  But he didn’t play enough to really dock him for numbers.  Mostly he seemed to be working back into rhythm and he held up against Houston’s physicality.  It wasn’t really a good or bad game for Duncan, thus the C.  He was able to play just under 14 minutes while the Spurs won by double-digits, so overall you have to chalk that up as a positive.


Danny Green | A

Honestly, after starting 4-of-5 from three in the first seven minutes and completely sparking the Spurs into recovery from another slow start, Green was probably going to get an A even if he fell off a cliff after the first quarter.  The good news: he didn’t.  Along with tying his season high of 18 points on six made threes, Green contributed four rebounds, three assists, three steals, one block and some solid defense on James Harden.  He was fully engaged, and best of all for Spurs fans, played with confidence.


Tony Parker | B-

Tony went 0-for-6 from the floor with two turnovers and just two points.  On the other hand, he matched his season high for assists with 10, and grabbed four rebounds.  His shot wasn’t falling but he found a way to contribute.


Patty Mills | B-

As was the case when last these two teams met on Christmas, Patty didn’t have his best night.  He was mostly ineffective through three quarters and even missed a wide open layup on the break when he apparently underestimated his own speed.  Have to give him credit though, he kept firing and was able to knock down a couple threes early in the fourth quarter to bring his total to nine points (3-of-9 3PT), three assists, one steal.


Manu Ginobili | B+

As is typical, Manu was a crucial part of a bench unit that helped turn the game with great ball movement late in the first quarter and early in the second.  He looked fresh, even late in the third quarter, chasing down the offensive rebound on a rare Aldridge miss and drawing the foul.  He finished with eight points (2-of-5, 4-of-4 FT) and five assists in 16 minutes.


David West | A

West had another really solid game.  He always seems to be in the right spot offensively, knocks down the midrange shot, and continues to show off his passing ability, like when he hit Parker on a give-and-go that earned Parker two free throws and his only points of the night.  West scored 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting.


Jonathon Simmons | B

The rookie saw nine minutes of play, but seven of those came in the fourth quarter when the game had all but been decided.  He turned the ball over just after entering the game late in the first quarter, and he subbed out about a minute into the second.  But he played well when he returned to finish the game, going 3-of-4 for six points, including a nice cut for a dunk on the feed from Boban.  He also had an assist and a rebound and he always brings the effort on defense.


Boris Diaw | A

BOBO!  The big man from Bordeaux had one of his rare scoring explosions.  He did it from everywhere, banging with the Rockets’ physical front line down low and twice benefitting from the Rockets’ slow (or complete lack of) defensive rotation to him on the three-point line.  By the end he tallied a season high 20 points (8-of-13) plus eight rebounds, two assists, two steals in 25 minutes of play.  He’s such an important cog for the Spurs and it’s great to see him firing on all cylinders.  

 

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