SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Spurs had three-plus days to reflect on the beating they took from the Los Angeles Clippers and attempt to regroup when they host the Houston Rockets on Wednesday.
San Antonio was trounced 116-92 by the Clippers on Saturday for its second straight home loss after compiling a 40-1 home record last season.
Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard had a rare off-night -- 14 points on 3-of-13 shooting -- and had plenty of company when it came to sub-par performances, prompting coach Gregg Popovich to appreciate the break in the slate.
"It's a good thing for us," Popovich told reporters. "Considering the schedule that we just had, it's a good thing. We need some time. We need some rest."
Houston is 2-2 on a five-game excursion and guard James Harden doesn't seem fatigued as his club wraps up a season-opening stretch in which seven of eight games are on the road. Harden had 32 points and 15 assists in Monday's 114-106 win over the Washington Wizards to become the first player since Michael Jordan (1988-89 season) to post four consecutive outings of at least 30 points and 10 assists.
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ABOUT THE ROCKETS (4-3): Harden is thriving in the offensive system of first-year coach Mike D'Antoni, particularly with the decision to let him handle the ball all the way up the court.
"We're just trying to make it easier for him," D'Antoni told reporters. "Why camouflage it? You know that's where it's going. You know he has to make plays. So why not do it?" It certainly is working as Harden is averaging 31.6 points, 12.7 assists and 7.1 rebounds and scored at least 24 points in each game.
ABOUT THE SPURS (5-2): San Antonio might have the starting backcourt of point guard Tony Parker and shooting guard Danny Green in the lineup together for the first time this season. Parker (knee) missed the past two games while Green hasn't played at all after suffering a quadriceps injury last month but was a full participant in Monday's practice.
"It felt good. I still have to do some strengthening regardless of whether I'm active or playing (Wednesday)," Green told reporters. "Mentally (it's been) frustrating, but staying positive. Our trainers and strength and conditioning guys have done a great job of helping me get back, and keeping me in shape. So I'll just continue to stay consistent with it."
1. The Spurs won six of the past seven meetings.
2. San Antonio PG Patty Mills, who made three starts in place of Parker this season, had just four points on 1-of-7 shooting versus the Clippers.
3. Houston SG Eric Gordon is averaging just 10 points on 7-of-21 shooting over the past two games.