HOUSTON (AP)DeMar DeRozan scored 30 points and the San Antonio Spurs held off a late charge from the Houston Rockets for a 111-106 victory Saturday night.
The Spurs led by 10 in the fourth quarter, but it was tied late in the game before DeRozan scored the next five points to give the Spurs a 107-102 lead with a minute to go. John Wall made a layup for Houston with less than 30 seconds left, but Patty Mills hit two free throws for San Antonio to extend it to 109-104.
P.J. Tucker made two free throws for Houston after that, but Rudy Gay made two for San Antonio to secure the victory.
It was the third 30-point game this season for DeRozan.
”He’s having a wonderful year,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. ”He’s been a great leader. He’s really been detailed in his approach to games, and he’s been our go-to guy game after game after game.”
Teammate Derrick White raved about DeRozan’s work, too.
”That’s what he (does),” he said. ”He’s been huge for us not just scoring but facilitating, rebounding, doing whatever it takes for us to win.”
DeRozan was asked about the key to his efficiency this season.
”I’m just taking what they’re give me, picking and choosing my spots … and trying to get my teammates involved to alleviate the pressure on me,” he said.
Wall had 27 points and Eric Gordon scored 26 off the bench as the Rockets lost for the second time in three games following a six-game winning streak. DeMarcus Cousins added 12 points with 11 rebounds while filling in for Christian Wood, who is out with a sprained right ankle.
The Rockets used a 10-0 run, with four points from Gordon and capped by a basket from Wall, to make it 100-98 and give them their first lead of the game with 31/2 minutes to go.
Jakob Poeltl made two free throws to give the Spurs their first points in almost three minutes and DeRozan, who had eight rebounds and seven assists, added two more free throws a few seconds later to put them back on top.
Houston coach Stephen Silas was disappointed that his team let DeRozan get to the free throw line so much late in the game.
”I told them we know DeMar DeRozan is going to do whatever it takes to get to the free throw line and we had to be disciplined in those situations,” he said. ”And he did what we expected him to do. He got to the free throw line.”
Gay opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer that extended San Antonio’s lead to 10 points. Houston then used a 14-5 run, with two 3s from Danuel House, to cut the lead to 92-91 with about 8 minutes left.
A 3-pointer by David Nwaba got Houston within eight in the third, but the Spurs scored the next five points to push it to 82-69. The Rockets ended the quarter on an 8-2 run to cut the deficit to 84-77 entering the fourth.
Spurs: Lonnie Walker missed the game because of a stomach illness. … LaMarcus Aldridge was out for a second straight game because of a sore right hip.
Rockets: Wood is out indefinitely after being injured on Thursday night. He will be evaluated weekly to determine when he can return. … Gordon has scored more than 20 points in four straight games.
Spurs: Return home for two games against Golden State starting on Monday night before beginning a seven-game road trip on Friday night at Atlanta.
Rockets: Play five of their next six games on the road, beginning with a trip to Charlotte on Monday night.
More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/tag/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports