Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Keys to victory: Rockets 111, Spurs 98
By ESPN Stats & Information
What were the keys to the Houston Rockets' win over the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday?
Harden brilliant in the fourth
James Harden saved his best for last, scoring 16 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter. It was the second time this season that Harden scored 16 points in a fourth quarter. He also did so against the Spurs on Nov. 30.
Harden was 6-for-7 from the field in the fourth quarter, including 3-for-4 when guarded by Kawhi Leonard. He missed all four shots he took with Leonard guarding him in the first three quarters.
Harden ranks second in the NBA in fourth-quarter scoring, averaging 7.2 such points per game.
Lin and Howard handle their men
Rockets starters outscored Spurs starters 98-45, and one of the reasons for that was that Tim Duncan and Tony Parker were a combined 7-for-23 from the field.
Duncan was 4-for-11 when guarded by Dwight Howard (who also had his NBA-best fourth game this season with at least 20 rebounds). Parker was 2-for-8 when guarded by Jeremy Lin.
The 3-point shot
Chandler Parsons made 5 of 9 3-pointers, helping the Rockets shoot 12-for-24 from long range for the game. The Spurs were a meager 5-for-20. The Spurs have given up at least a dozen 3-pointers three times this season. In two of those instances, their opponents were the Rockets.
This marked only the second time in the past five seasons that an opposing team came into San Antonio and outscored the Spurs by more than 20 points from behind the arc. The other instance was the Trail Blazers last season.
As the shot chart below notes, the Spurs didn't shoot the ball well from anywhere. They shot 41 percent from the field, their lowest percentage in any game this month.