San Antonio Spurs vs. Houston Rockets Pick & Prediction MARCH 12th 2024

The Houston Rockets will look to build on a season-best road winning streak and stay in the running for a postseason spot when they travel west on I-10 to battle the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday.

The Rockets will be without leading scorer Alperen Sengun, who will be out an extended period of time after sustaining right knee and ankle injuries early in the fourth quarter of a win over the Sacramento Kings on Saturday.

The game is the second of a home back-to-back for the Spurs, who lost 112-103 to the Golden State Warriors on Monday. That contest was the opener of a season-high eight-game homestand for San Antonio — though two of those games will be played in Austin, Texas.

Victor Wembanyama returned to action for the Spurs on Monday after missing two games with a right ankle injury and produced game-high totals of 27 points and 14 rebounds. Devin Vassell added 17 points for San Antonio, Keldon Johnson scored 16 and Zach Collins logged 10 points and 10 rebounds.

San Antonio was ahead by eight points after the first quarter and had a two-point edge at halftime. However, Golden State’s 23-7 run in the third quarter turned a five-point deficit into a 16-point advantage. The Spurs never drew closer than eight points in the fourth.

“If you lose, oftentimes you do a few things poorly. If you win, you do more things well, and you have a chance to win,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “We did some pretty bad things during that (third-quarter) stretch. You can just guess — just write down whatever you want. It’s a simple game, right?

“You turn it over, miss shots, they make shots, your defense sags, maybe they get a rebound. It’s all of the above — it’s no secret. So to answer what went wrong doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. All those things went wrong. And then you lose the game.”

The Rockets are set to play the finale of a three-game road trip that began with wins in Phoenix and Sacramento, the latter a 112-104 victory on Sunday. Houston rallied from a 13-point, first-half deficit and got 22 points and nine assists from Fred VanVleet in the win, its season-best third straight on the road and fourth in the past five contests overall.

Jalen Green chipped in 19 points, including a key 3-pointer down the stretch, while Jabari Smith Jr. had 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Sengun, who had 14 points, was taken off the court in a wheelchair and had X-rays and an MRI after the game. He will miss the Tuesday game, and there is no timetable for his return.

It’s a disappointing development for a rising 21-year-old player who had two of his best games of the season last week. Sengun put up a career-high 45 points on March 5 against the Spurs, then followed with a triple-double (23 points, 19 rebounds, 14 assists) the next night against the Los Angeles Clippers.

“Injuries are part of the game,” VanVleet said of Sengun getting hurt. “We all understand that when we signed up, but it’s always tough to see your teammates go down, especially the young ones who haven’t really been through it before.”

The Rockets head to San Antonio five games behind Golden State for 10th place and the final spot in the Western Conference play-in tournament. The Spurs, who are last in the conference, are already eliminated from postseason contention.

–Field Level Media

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