SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Spurs got a look at just how far away they are from being the best team in the NBA on Monday, but they’re still a solid No. 2.
The Spurs will try to stay undefeated at home when they return to host the Houston Rockets on Wednesday.
San Antonio went into a hotly-anticipated meeting with the Golden State Warriors on Monday riding a 13-game winning streak but came out of it with a 120-90 loss.
"It was like men and boys out there (Monday), I thought, as far as the toughness and the aggressiveness was concerned," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich told reporters. "In every facet of the game, it was men and boys.”
The Rockets are enjoying a string of three straight wins but were ripped 121-103 in a visit to San Antonio on Jan. 2. James Harden was held to 17 points in that loss but is averaging 30.3 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in the last four contests.
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ABOUT THE ROCKETS (25-22): Harden led the way with 35 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists in a 112-111 win at New Orleans on Monday to kick off a three-game trip that concludes at Oklahoma City on Friday.
“He was great again. He was flirting with another triple-double,” Rockets interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff told reporters of Harden. “When he does that, we’re hard to beat. He’s sharing the ball, he’s rebounding.”
Harden is getting plenty of help of late from small forward Trevor Ariza, who is averaging 30 points in the last two games while going 14-of-20 from 3-point range.
ABOUT THE SPURS (38-7): San Antonio entered Monday’s contest leading the NBA with a scoring defense that yielded an average of 89.8 points but yielded more than that through the first three quarters as the game quickly got out of hand.
“They outplayed us in every single aspect of the game,” reserve guard Manu Ginobili told reporters. “Aggression was one, shooting was another one, defense, everything. It was the whole package. I don't think there was one area in which it was close. We were slow, not every sharp. It was no game."
All seven of the Spurs’ losses have come on the road, and the team is an NBA-best 24-0 at home.
1. Spurs C Tim Duncan (knee) sat out Monday but is expected back on Wednesday.
2. Rockets C Dwight Howard (ankle) missed the last three games and remains day-to-day.
3. San Antonio has taken four of the last five in the series and has not lost to Houston at home since Dec. 25, 2013.