The Houston Rockets held off the New Orleans Pelicans for a 112-111 victory on Tuesday, lifting their record to 25-22, good for 7th in the West. Trevor Ariza was en fuego for the first 42 minutes of the game, making 8 of 12 from 3-point land on his way to a 31-point night, but it was James Harden (go figure) who scored 10 of his 35 points in the final 5:39 to seal the win. The Rockets were without Dwight Howard, who’s missed the last three games since spraining an ankle last week and is questionable for tonight.
The Spurs' 13-game winning streak snapped on Monday, as they fell 120-90 to the Golden State Warriors, who took a 2-0 lead on a Klay Thompson field goal 30 seconds in and never looked back. Don’t read too much into the final score, however: the Spurs were without Tim Duncan, who’s nursing a sore right knee, and coach Gregg Popovich’s rotations didn’t exactly scream “Must win!”, as 10 guys played at least 16 minutes, and none played more than 25. Still, when it was over, Manu Ginobili had to admit, “At this point, they are better than us… We got our butts kicked, that’s for sure.” The Spurs are 38-7 and the #2 seed in the West, 3 games behind Golden State.
The Rockets and Spurs have played twice this season, with each team winning once.
Mavericks vs. Warriors (10:30pm ET Wednesday, ESPN)
The Mavericks are 26-21 and in 6th place in the West after barely keeping the Lakers at bay on Tuesday, winning 92-90 on a Dirk Nowitzki jumper with 2.1 seconds on the clock. Apart from the game-winner, Nowitzki had a lackluster night, making just 5 of 14 for 13 points. It was just Dallas’ seventh win in their last 15 games, as they’ve recently run afoul of the the Heat, Cavs, Thunder (twice), Spurs and Rockets.
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr returned Friday, following an extended absence to recover from back surgery. Assistant coach Luke Walton led the team to a league-best 39-4 record, and not much has changed since Kerr’s return, as Golden State beat Indy Friday, 122-110, and then destroyed San Antonio 120-90, behind Steph Curry’s 37 points. The Warriors are now 41-4, on pace for 74.7 wins, as they continue to chase the Jordan Bulls' record of 72.