HOUSTON (Sporting Alert) — Defending champions San Antonio Spurs will face the Houston Rockets in the NBA featured game of the week, which will be streamed live on the TNT Network on Thursday night.
Houston (5-0) is one of three undefeated teams left in the NBA this season — all three in the Western Conference — and the hosts come into the game looking to for its six successive win, following the 108-91 win over the Miami Heat Tuesday night.
The Rockets, who are also averaging 105.6 points per game, while holding their opponents for less than 92 points, will next face another Western Conference undefeated team in Golden State on Saturday and guard James Harden, who is averaging 27.2 points per game, is happy for the early challenges.
“We always want the test,” Harden said after the win in Miami. “Our next game against San Antonio in Houston is going to be a test as well.
“We’re going to approach every game the same way — both ends of the floor make sure we’re together.”
San Antonio (2-1) is off to a slow start in their title defense, but with the likes of veterans Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, the defending champions are always dangerous to play.
The Spurs, which have only played three games so far this season, are coming off a 94-92 victory over the Atlanta Hawks and Ginobili believes the defending champions must start playing better.
“We need to be sharper and execute better,” said Ginobili.
However, Ginobili will not get the chance to improve on his 12 points from the last outing, as coach Gregg Popovich has decided rest both him and Duncan for Thursday’s game.
Missing as well are guard Marco Belinelli (mild strain, right groin), guard Patty Mills (right shoulder surgery) and Tiago Splitter (tightness, right calf), who are still out due to injuries.
Dwight Howard, who scored 26 points and 10 rebounds in the last outing says he is looking forward to facing the Spurs, with and without Duncan and Ginobili.