Veteran T.J. Ford and rookies Cory Joseph and Kawhi Leonard made their Spurs debut. The Spurs opened the preseason with a 101-87 loss to the Rockets on Saturday in Houston.
Ford started and played 25 minutes and finished with eight points and six assists. Leonard played 22 minutes and had two points and five rebounds. Joseph, who practice with the team for the first time earlier in the day, played 19 minutes and had four points and two assists.
Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Gary Neal did not play. DeJuan Blair and Manu Ginobili led the Spurs with 16 points each, Tiago Splitter had 13 and Matt Bonner had 12. Luis Scola led the Rockets with 20 points.
The Spurs shot poorly, hitting 29 of 82 from the field (35.4 percent). They actually shot much better the second half at 21 of 42 (50.0 percent).
Fourth quarter: The Rockets lead by seven points with 2:42 left. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich likes those close preseason games to see how the young guys respond in those situations.
Spurs try to make a late run with Cory Joseph, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Steve Novak and DeJuan Blair.
Third quarter – Rockets 71, Spurs 65: T.J. Ford is showing his experience in his first appearance in a Spurs uniform. He has eight points and six assists.
DeJuan Blair is working on a double-double. He has 12 points and six rebounds. The Rockets lead 69-57 with 2:57 left in the third quarter.
Though none of the Spurs are shooting well, Manu Ginobili is’t doing too bad. He is 6 of 14 from the field and has a team-high 16 points.
Halftime – Rockets 51, Spurs 36: The Spurs are shooting like they haven’t played in more than seven months – 8 of 40 from field in half. DeJuan Blair has nine points and five rebounds.
The Spurs missed their first seven shots of the second quarter. With lots of young guys and no Tony and Tim, there are some unusual lineups.
First quarter – Rockets 24, Spurs 20: Matt Bonner has 7 points and 3 rebounds. Spurs rookies Kawhi Leonard and Cory Joseph both see action.
Matt Bonner hits his first shot of the year, or at least the preseason, hitting a 3-pointer. The Rockets’ Luis Scola follows with a basket and he has 10 points.
We’re about to get our first game-action look at Kawhi Leonard as a Spur late in the first quarter.
The Rockets lead the Spurs 18-6 at the first timeout midway through the first quarter. The Spurs missed eight of their first 11 shots.
The Rockets opened the game with an 11-2 run. Houston’s Luis Scola (remember him?) made his first four shots. Richard Jefferson hit a long jumper for the Spurs’ first basket.
Spurs starters: T.J. Ford, Manu Ginobili, Richard Jefferson, DeJuan Blair and Tiago Splitter. Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Gary Neal are not playing tonight.
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Saturday notes: Cory Joseph finally is on the job: