Spurs 116, Rockets 107 – Green, Witherspoon get hot

<!– –>

Danny Green had his best shooting game of the preseason and Wesley Witherspoon made the most of a chance to start as the Spurs beat the Rockets 116-107.

Green shot 6-of-9 from the field and 3-of-5 on 3-pointers for 15 points. Witherspoon shot 6-of-9 including 2-of-4 on 3-pointers for 17 points.

DeJuan Blair led the bench with 16 points and 6 rebounds. Cory Joseph had 12 points and 3 assists. Manu Ginobili had 11 points, Gary Neal had 10 points and 3 assists and Eddy Curry had 10 points and 3 rebounds.

Kawhi Leonard had the game off and most of the other Spurs’ starters had their playing time limited. Tim Duncan played 12 minutes and had 5 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocked shots. Tony Parker played 12 minutes and had 6 points. Boris Diaw played 20 minutes and had 2 points and 6 rebounds.

Fourth quarter: Gary Neal and Eddy Curry are up to 10 points each. The Spurs lead 108-99 with 2:44 left in the game.

Nando De Colo had a crazy pass to Derrick Brown for an assist earlier in the fourth quarter. Now a smooth De Colo pass to Eddy Curry for a basket.

Both teams are firing up 3-pointers. The Spurs are 9-of-27 on 3-pointers for the game. The Rockets are 11-of-24. The Spurs lead the Rockets 99-93 with 5:30 left.

Gary Neal and Nando De Colo hit 3-pointers midway through the fourth quarter. The Spurs lead 99-90 with 6:20 left.

Wesley Witherspoon and Danny Green shooting a combined 12-of-18 from the field and 5-of-9 on 3-pointers. They have 15 points each. Witherspoon had the Spurs’ first two baskets of the fourth quarter. The Spurs lead 93-75 with 8:54 left in the game.

Two young Spurs team up. Nando De Colo makes a behind-the-back bounce pass to Derrick Brown, who turns it into a three-point play.

Spurs 72, Rockets 71 – third quarter: Wesley Witherspoon, making his first start of the preseason, has 11 points. He’s one of the young players in Spurs camp competing for a roster spot.

Danny Green has 15 points, Manu Ginobili 13 and Cory Joseph 10. The Spurs lead the Rockets 75-70 with 2:29 left in the third quarter.

Cory Joseph has eight points. He’s doing better this season. But he still might be the Spurs’ fifth or sixth point guard. Spurs point guards: 1. Tony Parker; 2. Gary Neal; 3. Nando De Colo; 4. Patty Mills or Cory Joseph
Not including the possibility of using Manu Ginobili as a point guard in an emergency.

The Rockets are going with their starting five – at least the five who started this game – early in the second half. Those guys have cut the Spurs’ lead to 56-55 with 8:59 left in the third quarter. Jeremy Lamb has 11 points.

The Spurs go with a three-guard lineup to start the second half: Cory Joseph, Gary Neal and Manu Ginobili are on the floor together. Boris Diaw and DeJuan Blair round out the Spurs’ five to start the half.

It looks like the stats are starting to work in Houston now in time for the second half.

Spurs 52, Rockets 44 – halftime: Danny Green has 12 points. Green shot 5-of-7 from the field including 2-of-3 on 3-pointers. Jeff McDonald reports Tim Duncan blocked at least three shots in the first half.

The Spurs lead the Rockets 48-38 with 2:20 left in the second quarter.

Spurs center Eddy Curry and guard Nando De Colo enter the game late in the second quarter for their first action of the game. Veteran Matt Bonner is also in the game.

It’s subs time. Cory Joseph has picked up the scoring for the Spurs. They lead the Rockets 43-32 in the second quarter.

Danny Green has 10 points. This is his best offensive showing of the preseason. The Spurs lead 34-28 in the second quarter. It’s Green and four subs on the floor for the Spurs.

Danny Green blocks a shot early in the second quarter. He’s playing with a lot of energy – might be generally feeling a little more confident after hitting back-to-back shots at the other end.

Spurs 27, Rockets 16 – first quarter: The Spurs starters look sharp including Danny Green hitting two long shots.

Danny Green hits a long jumper. Then Green hits a 3-pointer the next possession. It would be nice for him to start getting in a groove with his shot.

Tiago Splitter, who sat out the Spurs’ first preseason game due to a sore back, enters the game late in the first quarter. Splitter and Tim Duncan are on the court at the same time.

The Spurs lead the Rockets 20-10 with less than three minutes remaining in the first quarter. The Spurs starters – plus Manu Ginobili – are playing well together. As you would expect.

Manu Ginobili comes in off the bench midway through the first quarter. Ginobili sat out two of the first three preseason games with a sore foot.

The Spurs lead the Rockets 11-8 at the first timeout midway through the first quarter. Four of the five usual Spurs starters begin the game together. The rest of the game it’s going to be lots of crazy lineup combinations with lots of young guys.

And the game is under way. Join is in the live chat (below).

Spurs starters: Tony Parker, Danny Green, Wesley Witherspoon, Boris Diaw and Tim Duncan. Witherspoon gets the start in place of Kawhi Leonard.

Wesley Witherspoon hasn’t looked bad – rookie guard/forward from Memphis. I just don’t see room on the Spurs’ roster for him. I wonder if he’s bound for the D-League for this season. Starting today will give scouts from some other teams a chance to take a good look at him.

Lineup update: Jeff McDonald reports Wesley Witherspoon will start for the Spurs. Earlier today it looked like Manu Ginobili might start, but now it looks like that’s not the case.

The Rockets are trying to win their 13th straight preseason game. There’s not much correlation between that and winning in the regular season.

Houston Rockets report Kevin Martin, Patrick Patterson and Toney Douglas will not play today.

The experience factor isn’t such a big deal in preseason. You figure Pop uses most of the game to give his newest and youngest players as much game time as he can.

Huge contrast between these two teams in the togetherness factor. The Spurs’ Big Three have all been together going back to the 2003 championship season. Most of these Rockets have been together since the beginning of October.

The Spurs play on the road today against the Houston at 1 p.m. in Houston.

Join our live chat beginning at 12:30 p.m.

Thursday: Spurs (2-0) at Rockets (0-1)

Time: 7 p.m.
Radio: WOAI-AM 1200, KCOR-AM 1350


Point guard
Spurs: 9 Tony Parker (6-2, 11th yr)
Rockets: 7 Kyle Lowry (6-0, 6th yr)
Lowry opened season with 20-12 double-double vs. Magic

Shooting guard
Spurs: 20 Manu Ginobili (6-6, 10th yr)
Rockets: 12 Kevin Martin (6-7, 8th yr)
Martin made only 1 of 10 shots, went 0 for 6 on 3-pointers in opener.

Small forward
Spurs: 24 Richard Jefferson (6-7, 11th yr)
Rockets: 10 Chase Budinger (6-7, 3rd yr)
Jefferson made 3 of 7 on 3-pointers in season-opening victory Monday

Power forward
Spurs: 21 Tim Duncan (6-11, 15th yr)
Rockets: 4 Luis Scola (6-9, 5th yr)
Scola scored 19, grabbed 7 rebounds in season opener.

Spurs: 45 DeJuan Blair (6-7, 3rd yr)
Rockets: 27 Jordan HIll (7-1, 3rd yr)
Hill went 3 for 3 on FG but split time with Sam Dalembert in opener.

25 James Anderson, G, 6-6, 2nd yr
15 Matt Bonner, C/F, 6-10, 8th yr
11 T.J. Ford, G, 6-0, 8th yr
4 Danny Green, G/F, 6-6, 3rd yr
5 Cory Joseph, G, 6-3, 1st yr
2 Kawhi Leonard, F, 6-7, 1st yr
14 Gary Neal, G, 6-4, 2nd yr
22 Tiago Splitter, C, 6-11, 2nd

8 Jeff Adrien, F, 6-7, 1st yr
21 S. Dalembert, C, 6-11, 10th yr
9 Johnny Flynn, G, 6-3, 3rd yr
5 Courtney Lee, G/F, 6-5, 4th yr
3 Marcus Morris, F, 6-9, 1st yr
54 Patrick Patterson, F, 6-9, 2nd yr
32 Hasheem Thabeet, C, 7-3, 3rd yr
1 T. Williams, F-G, 6-6, 3rd yr

Spurs: Gregg Popovich
Rockets: Kevin McHale

Spurs: Gary Neal (appendectomy) is out.
Rockets: Patrick Patterson (right ankle) is questionable.

Spurs: Neal
Rockets: Patterson, Jeff Adrien

Spurs and Rockets split a pair of preseason games, each team winning on its home court. … Spurs won 2010-11 season series 3-1. … Rockets signed Dalembert to a contract Tuesday. … Neal, who underwent an appendectomy Dec. 12, has been cleared to begin some contact work in practices after the team returns to San Antonio after this game.

– Mike Monroe

Scola’s status uncertain for tonight’s game against the Spurs

Houston forward Luis Scola’s availability for tonight’s game against the Spurs is uncertain after his work has been limited over the past several days.

Scola’s consecutive 311-game playing streak was snapped Tuesday night when he missed the Rockets’ loss at Phoenix with a sore left knee. But despite having several days to recuperate, Rockets coach Rick Adelman told the Houston Chronicle he when it meets the Spurs tonight at the Toyota Center.

“He’s never been hurt, you know, before, so I don’t have any guess as to if he’s going to play or try to play or, if he does try to play, how effective he’s going to be,” Adelman said. “We’re just hoping in his time frame he continues to get better and when he is ready to go he can play like he does normally.”

Scola did not practice on Friday for the second consecutive day and will likely be a game-time decision.

The 6-foot-9 power forward has traditionally been a huge nemesis for the Spurs, who originally drafted him in the second round of the 2002 draft. In his last seven games against them, Scola has averaged 20.0 points and 10.9 boards, while making 28 of 31 free throws (.903).

If Scola can’t go, Adelman could opt to replace him with Patrick Patterson, Brad Miller or Jordan Hill. Patterson had a big game against Phoenix in Scola’s place in the rotation, scoring 18 points and contributing three steals in a season-high 28 minutes.

Houston (33-33) has won 11 of 16 games since Feb. 2, but remains in 11th place in the Western Conference. The Rockets are three games behind No. 8 Memphis with 16 games remaining.

The Spurs have beaten the Rockets three times in a row, with all of those games being played at the ATT Center. The Rockets won the last meeting in Houston, 109-104 on February 26, 2010.

But their  chances of beating the Spurs in what is a critical game for their playoff spots would be lessened considerably without Scola in the lineup.