51 minutes were not enough to decide a winner, as the 5 minutes after the initial 48 ended with the score deadlocked at 126-126. As we head to the second overtime, James Harden has 44 points and 20 made free throws. Lonnie Walker has been at least his equal since the middle of the third quarter. The second-year wing is up to a career-high 27 points, tops on the Spurs in the game.
The second overtime went back and forth, with plenty of physical play, drives to the rim and free throws. A DeMar DeRozan miss in the last 30 seconds left the Spurs down by 1, but Jakob Poeltl blocked James Harden's shot and DeRozan was fouled on the ensuing fast break. With 3.3 seconds left, he went to the line for two shots with the Spurs trailing 133-132. He made both. Then the Rockets cleared out and let James Harden drive to the rim, where DeRozan took a charge. This one was even bigger than an earlier effort by Patty Mills to draw a charge, because it sealed a Spurs victory.
The Spurs posted the full highlights shortly after the game ended.
With 5:10 left in the game, the Spurs were only down by 12. So a comeback doesn't seem likely, but it's not impossible. Both teams have been sloppy with the ball in the fourth quarter, but the Spurs have been worse, tallying 18 turnovers.
Lonnie Walker has been a fan favorite, racking up points in a mid-quarter stretch. He's been active on defense, and hasn't always made the best decisions with the ball. But a three-pointer with 3:46 to go got the Spurs within 7 and gave Lonnie 16 points, equal to his career high.
His dunks might end up being the most exciting part of the second half of the Spurs season if the team continues on its current trajectory.
James Harden could hit the 40-point mark again, even though this basket was ruled as a miss. Even the biggest Spurs fan can see this go through the hoop. For what it's worth, he made a three pointer a moment later.
Lonnie Walker took over in the last two minutes. With the Spurs down by 8, Walker scored the last 8 points in regulation, including back-to-back threes. The second came with 11.5 seconds left and was just a cold-blooded shot right in front of PJ Tucker. The shot tied it at 115, which is where regulation ended.
After three, the Rockets lead 97-81.
The third quarter was not kind to the Spurs. In the first eight minutes of the period, the Rockets outscored the Spurs 26-13. That made the lead balloon to 89-72. The Spurs kept James Harden under wraps during that stretch, holding him to 4 points, but Westbrook scored 8 and the rest of Houston's starters stepped up.
After leaning on DeRozan and Gay in the first half, the wing pair went cold and no one picked up the slack with LaMarcus Aldridge out due to injury.
Derrick White is doing his best on a limited number of shots, but his +/- is a ghastly -27 with the third quarter winding down.
By the time the buzzer sounded, the Rockets outscored the Spurs 34-22 in the quarter to take a comfortable 16-point lead.
At halftime, the Rockets lead 63-59.
James Harden made just 3 of 10 shots, including just 1 of 6 from long range, but he made a whopping 15 free throws in the first half. His 22 points lead all scorers after two quarters. His co-star, Russell Westbrook, has struggled mightily, scoring just 5 points on 2-of-12 shooting.
Lonnie Walker has defended each of them, and done well in his first half minutes. He hasn't scored, but he's +10 in 9 minutes as part of a tenacious bench unit. DeMar DeRozan and Rudy Gay are the Spurs' top scorers with 14 points apiece in the first half.
The Rockets took three times as many three pointers as the Spurs and made three times as many, so the shooting percentages are the same, at 37.5 percent. Still, that's an extra 18 points from deep for Houston. The Rockets also forced 9 Spurs turnovers.
The Rockets made just one of their nine shots from behind the arc in the first quarter. The visitors shot just 35 percent (7-of-20) from the floor. They started the second quarter on a tear, racing to a 47-40 lead with 6:35 left in the half. Ben McLemore has been feasting on open catch-and-shoot threes. It only makes sense that the Spurs are focused on Westbrook and Harden, so other players need to be able to make shots, especially from the corner, and especially in transition. This is so tough to defend, and the Rockets can get shots like this almost all the time.
On the other end, Derrick White hasn't had success on the outside, so he took it right in the paint at Rockets center Clint Capela. No fear!
Lonnie Walker continued to be a top choice for the Spurs as a defender on the Rockets' stars. Even though Harden made this shot, he hasn't been automatic from deep. That's about as good as you can play defense on him!
Meanwhile, Jakob Poeltl is stepping up on both ends with LaMarcus Aldridge out of the lineup for San Antonio. Watch him pick up a block, rebound and assist on this play. You thought this might swing the momentum, but Houston got the lead back up to 63-59 at the intermission.
After 1, the Spurs lead 27-25.
Coach Gregg Popovich isn't shy about using timeouts early in a quarter, and Tuesday night was no exception. After two easy buckets for Rockets center Clint Capela, the Spurs coach called a TO and talked to his guys. At that point, less than two minutes had passed and the Spurs were down just 4-2.
Defense has been the problem for the Silver and Black since the start of November, when they suffered through their longest losing streak since the turn of the 21st century. Quite simply, the Spurs have allowed opposing teams to make too many of their shots. The Rockets making 4 of their first 5 is a small sample, but it's not encouraging.
Offense hasn't been a problem, and Bryn Forbes finding his shooting touch is a good sign.
Unfortunately for San Antonio, Russell Westbrook also made his first three-point attempt. If James Harden continues to do what he's been doing recently and scores 40 points, the Spurs are in big trouble if Westbrook is feeling it, too.
The Rockets missed their last 11 shots of the first quarter and the Spurs took only a two-point lead into the second quarter, but it's progress!
Lonnie Walker played 5 minutes in the first quarter, often guarding Russell Westbrook. The Rockets' second star only scored 5 points in the first. James Harden, meanwhile, scored 9 points from the free throw line alone.
The Spurs (7-14) enter Tuesday night's game against the Houston Rockets (13-6) after a bad road loss to the Detroit Pistons, 132-98. The Spurs won the prior game, against Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers, but couldn't keep the momentum. We'll see if it comes back against James Harden and the Rockets.