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James Harden leads Rockets past Spurs 102-91

SAN ANTONIO (AP) The Houston Rockets used their offense to roll past San Antonio in December. This time, they shut down the Spurs with their defense.

James Harden had 28 points and 11 assists, and Houston dominated San Antonio for the second time this season with a 102-91 victory Thursday night.

''It's really good for us, especially that we did it the right way,'' Rockets center Clint Capela said. ''This second game, we did it the right (way) by being present defensively all game long, keep them under control, it's going to be a good confidence to everybody on the team.''

Capela added 14 points and 13 rebounds in Houston's third straight win.

The Rockets led by as many as 19 points in the first matchup between the Texas rivals since the Spurs' 124-109 blowout loss on Dec. 15 in Houston.

The Spurs' only lead came in the opening minutes. They trailed by double digits for much of the night.

''It's a great step,'' Harden said. ''All night defensively we were locked in. We just got stops. We knew at some point they were going to make a run, especially in that second half. We held our composure.''

San Antonio scored the first points of the fourth quarter to close to 82-76 with 10 minutes remaining. But Chris Paul responded for Houston.

The veteran point guard, who is nursing a sore right groin, apologized to coach Mike D'Antoni for being too cautious and allowing the Spurs to get back into the game.

''I was like, alright, we tripping,'' Paul said. ''Let me go ahead.''

Paul hit three jumpers to rebuild Houston's lead to 88-76.

''In the end, a couple of great players hit shots,'' San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. ''I thought Chris was great in the midrange. He hit about three or four in a row and of course James hit a couple of 3s there back to back. That's talent taking over.''

The Rockets finished 14 for 42 on 3-pointers.

Danny Green had 22 points to lead San Antonio in scoring for the first time this season. LaMarcus Aldridge was held to 16 points on 8-for-15 shooting.

''For us, offensively is probably the problem,'' Green said. ''That's kind of new, rare. They say defense wins championships, but you still have to be able to score. Right now, we are trying to find that rhythm, that identity, flow.''

Houston scored 27 points off 16 turnovers while San Antonio was only able to produce four points off nine turnovers.

Gerald Green added 15 points for the Rockets, and Ryan Anderson had 13 points.

TIP-INS

Rockets: G Eric Gordon was listed as questionable, but did not play due to low back stiffness. ... F Trevor Ariza missed his second straight game with a strained left hamstring. ... Capela recorded his 25th double-double in 45 games this season. He had 25 double-doubles over 154 games in his first three seasons.

Spurs: Kawhi Leonard remains out with what the Spurs call return from injury management due to right quadriceps tendinopathy. He was not in uniform for a second straight game after being dressed and sitting on the bench in the first two games of the five-game homestand. ... Aldridge has led the Spurs in scoring in 39 of 50 games, the most of any player in the league this season.

UP NEXT

Rockets: Visit Cleveland on Saturday night.

Spurs: Host Utah on Saturday night.

HONORING RASUAL

San Antonio observed a moment of silence before the game to honor former Spurs player Rasual Butler.

Butler and his wife, Leah LaBelle, were killed in a single-car crash early Wednesday.

Popovich described Butler as a ''good person in every way.''

''It's always a shock, always a loss, but much more so to their own families,'' Popovich said. ''And, obviously, his wife was with him, which makes it even more tragic. We feel for all the family, and that's where your thoughts have to go, and once again be amazed, it can happen to any of us at any time.''

NEW LOOK

Paul and Tony Parker have had some memorable battles during their storied careers, but they weren't on the court together often Thursday night now that the Spurs' veteran is coming off the bench.

''That definitely is odd,'' Paul said of Parker not starting. ''T.P., that's my guy. I've known T.P. since day one, since I was in college. It is, but he's still going to be him. He's just a consummate pro, whatever I'm sure Pop asks him to do, he's going to do.''

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Key Players
J. Harden
13 SG
L. Aldridge
12 PF
34.1 Min. Per Game 34.1
22.4 Pts. Per Game 22.4
1.9 Ast. Per Game 1.9
8.5 Reb. Per Game 8.5
45.1 Field Goal % 49.3
44.9 Three Point % 49.2
86.2 Free Throw % 84.1
+ 1 Brandon Paul made free throw 0:22
  Shooting foul on P.J. Tucker 0:22
+ 2 Brandon Paul made dunk 0:22
  Offensive rebound by Brandon Paul 0:22
  Darrun Hilliard missed jump shot 0:24
+ 3 P.J. Tucker made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Luc Mbah a Moute 0:34
  Defensive rebound by Chris Paul 0:50
  Bryn Forbes missed driving layup 0:55
  Defensive rebound by Darrun Hilliard 0:59
  Luc Mbah a Moute missed finger-roll layup 1:00
+ 3 Davis Bertans made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Darrun Hilliard 1:18
Team Stats
Points 102 91
Field Goals 37-83 (44.6%) 35-83 (42.2%)
3-Pointers 14-42 (33.3%) 6-24 (25.0%)
Free Throws 14-17 (82.4%) 15-17 (88.2%)
Total Rebounds 44 55
Offensive 7 9
Defensive 31 37
Team 6 9
Assists 20 21
Steals 10 7
Blocks 7 5
Turnovers 9 16
Fouls 16 12
Technicals 0 2
28 PTS, 2 REB, 11 AST
22 PTS, 6 REB, 3 AST
1234T
away team logo Rockets 37-13 27272820102
home team logo Spurs 34-20 1424322191
Team Stats
away team logo Rockets 37-13 104.9 PPG 43 RPG 18.8 APG
home team logo Spurs 34-20 96.8 PPG 37.6 RPG 19.0 APG
Key Players
J. Harden SG 30.4 PPG 5.4 RPG 8.8 APG 44.9 FG%
D. Green SF PPG RPG APG FG%
Top Scorers
J. Harden SG 28 PTS 2 REB 11 AST
D. Green SF 22 PTS 6 REB 3 AST
44.6 FG% 42.2
33.3 3PT FG% 25.0
82.4 FT% 88.2
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
J. Harden 36 28 2 11 1 2 2 1 10/20 5/12 3/3 0 2 53 +18
C. Capela 35 14 13 2 1 5 2 0 6/10 0/0 2/2 2 11 35 +10
R. Anderson 28 13 3 2 0 0 0 3 4/6 3/5 2/2 1 2 20 +17
C. Paul 30 10 3 2 2 0 3 3 5/14 0/3 0/1 0 3 16 -6
L. Mbah a Moute 35 9 4 2 2 0 1 3 4/10 1/5 0/0 1 3 18 -2
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
J. Harden 36 28 2 11 1 2 2 1 10/20 5/12 3/3 0 2 53 +18
C. Capela 35 14 13 2 1 5 2 0 6/10 0/0 2/2 2 11 35 +10
R. Anderson 28 13 3 2 0 0 0 3 4/6 3/5 2/2 1 2 20 +17
C. Paul 30 10 3 2 2 0 3 3 5/14 0/3 0/1 0 3 16 -6
L. Mbah a Moute 35 9 4 2 2 0 1 3 4/10 1/5 0/0 1 3 18 -2
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
G. Green 30 15 5 0 1 0 0 3 4/13 3/11 4/5 0 5 21 +8
P. Tucker 30 10 5 0 1 0 0 2 3/7 2/6 2/2 1 4 16 +9
Nene 12 3 3 1 2 0 1 1 1/3 0/0 1/2 2 1 9 +1
E. Gordon - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
R. Hunter - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
M. Brown - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
C. Onuaku - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Black - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Z. Qi - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Williams - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Ariza - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 236 102 38 20 10 7 9 16 37/83 14/42 14/17 7 31 188 +55
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
D. Green 28 22 6 3 3 1 1 1 9/18 3/7 1/1 2 4 37 -10
L. Aldridge 33 16 8 3 0 0 2 1 8/15 0/0 0/0 2 6 28 -16
K. Anderson 29 7 4 2 1 1 0 1 3/7 0/2 1/1 0 4 17 -9
D. Murray 24 6 11 3 0 0 4 0 3/6 0/0 0/2 4 7 19 -11
P. Gasol 20 6 7 1 2 2 4 0 0/1 0/1 6/6 0 7 15 -4
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
D. Green 28 22 6 3 3 1 1 1 9/18 3/7 1/1 2 4 37 -10
L. Aldridge 33 16 8 3 0 0 2 1 8/15 0/0 0/0 2 6 28 -16
K. Anderson 29 7 4 2 1 1 0 1 3/7 0/2 1/1 0 4 17 -9
D. Murray 24 6 11 3 0 0 4 0 3/6 0/0 0/2 4 7 19 -11
P. Gasol 20 6 7 1 2 2 4 0 0/1 0/1 6/6 0 7 15 -4
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
B. Forbes 18 11 2 1 1 0 0 2 3/6 1/2 4/4 0 2 16 -2
M. Ginobili 20 5 0 3 0 0 3 4 2/8 1/3 0/0 0 0 8 -8
P. Mills 23 4 2 2 0 0 1 1 2/8 0/6 0/0 0 2 9 -7
D. Hilliard 8 4 2 1 0 0 0 0 1/2 0/0 2/2 0 2 8 +9
T. Parker 17 4 1 1 0 0 1 1 2/6 0/1 0/0 0 1 6 +1
D. Bertans 13 3 2 1 0 1 0 1 1/5 1/2 0/0 0 2 8 -4
B. Paul 1 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 1/1 0/0 1/1 1 0 4 +3
J. Lauvergne 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 0 0 +3
R. Gay - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
K. Leonard - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
M. Costello - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. White - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 235 91 46 21 7 5 16 12 35/83 6/24 15/17 9 37 175 -55