SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Danny Green had 24 points and the injury-depleted San Antonio Spurs held off a late rally to beat the Houston Rockets 110-106 on Sunday, snapping a six-game skid against their intrastate rivals.
Tim Duncan had 16 points and Manu Ginobili had 15 for San Antonio (19-13), which won for first time in three games.
James Harden had 28 points and Dwight Howard added 24 points and 17 rebounds for Houston (21-8). The Rockets’ newest additions had differing levels of success: Corey Brewer scored 25 points and Josh Smith added five points.
There were 20 lead changes and 13 ties in another physical and emotional battle between the longtime rivals.
Houston went 4 minutes without scoring between a pair of dunks by Howard — San Antonio went on a 15-0 run to open a 102-91 lead with 4 1/2 minutes remaining. The Rockets responded with a 12-4 spurt, capped by Harden’s 3-pointer with Duncan in his chest that pulled Houston to 106-103 with 52.1 seconds remaining. After Green missed a 3-pointer, Harden dribbled the ball out of bounds for his ninth turnover.
Green made four straight free throws in the final minute, helping San Antonio avoid going into overtime for the fourth time in its last six home games.
With Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard out, the Spurs turned to Duncan early and late. Duncan had an open dunk off a feed from Joseph, who had penetrated the lane for a 98-91 lead with 5 minutes remaining. Duncan then blocked Harden’s driving layup on the ensuing possession.
Spurs guard Patty Mills played for the first time this season after undergoing shoulder surgery, receiving a loud ovation upon entering the game with 3:28 remaining in the first quarter. Normally never shy about shooting, Mills did not attempt his first shot until nearly 2 minutes into his season debut.
Rockets: G Patrick Beverly was issued a technical and had to be restrained after going face-to-face with official Scott Twardowski over a non-call with 9:41 left in the third. Beverly charged at the official after lying on the floor and holding his side in pain for about five seconds after being hit on a screen. Minutes later, Beverly was arguing with someone on the Spurs’ bench prior to an inbounds. … Donatas Motiejunas has three of his four career 20-point games in the team’s last 14 games, including a career-high 25 against Denver on Dec. 13. … Houston is 11-2 on the road this season.
Spurs: San Antonio’s roster has missed a combined 94 games this season, with Mills (30), Tiago Splitter (20) and Parker (10) having sat out the most. … The Spurs used their 20th different starting lineup this season. Duncan has been apart of all but four of those lineups. … Mills committed consecutive turnovers late in the first half, leading Popovich to place an index finger to each temple as he screamed at the guard to play smarter. … San Antonio intentionally fouled Joey Dorsey twice in the final minute of the third quarter, resulting in the Houston forward making 1 of 4 free throws.
Rockets: host Washington on Monday.
Spurs: visit Memphis on Tuesday.
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