The Spurs will be playing their third game in four days and the second of a home back-to-back. Playing Thursday without three regular starters, they lost to the Miami Heat 112-95.
Derrick White led the Spurs with 22 points in just three quarters against Miami, and Tre Jones added 16. San Antonio shot just 37.5 percent from the floor and hit only 8 of 33 shots from beyond the arc, just two of the 3-pointers coming in the second half.
«Every game win or lose is a learning experience,» San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said after the defeat. «(It’s) a wonderful experience for all our young guys. They gave it all they had, but Miami is sharp.»
«I was just trying to be aggressive,» White said. «I knew DJ, Doug and Jak were out. Miami executes really well on both sides. They’re going to make you work. They’re good for a reason.»
The Spurs’ short-handed roster will be helped Friday by the likely return of Collins. Signed as a free agent in the offseason, he heads back to the court after missing all of last season and the beginning of this year with a left-ankle stress fracture.
The Rockets head west to San Antonio after a 115-104 home win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday.
Houston led by just three points with 2:44 to play before reeling off 10 straight points to cement the victory, its first at home in 12 tries.
The two teams played on Jan. 25, with the Spurs dominating the game and cruising to a 134-104 win in Houston. The Rockets allowed San Antonio to score 82 points in the paint and distribute 38 assists, both season highs for a Houston opponent.
«Our defense has been better (since the loss to San Antonio),» Rockets coach Stephen Silas said Thursday. «So, learning from those moments and those games has been beneficial. We have a level of confidence kind of based on Wednesday night’s game. I thought it was very complete game, and the energy in the building was good. «
The Spurs also shot 57.4 percent from the floor in the Jan. 25 win, their best showing of the year.
«We’ve seen these guys multiple times over the past couple weeks,» the Rockets’ Jae’Sean Tate said, «so we know what it’s going to take. They’re a team that moves the ball. Us being aware of that and being ready to make those extra closeouts and help each other is going to be key for us.»
–Field Level Media