The Rockets moved to 6-0 after alley-ooping their way to a 98-81 win over the short-handed San Antonio Spurs.
With the Spurs sitting Duncan, Ginobli, Belinelli, Splitter and Mills, the Rockets capitalized early. James Harden lobbed it up for Dwight Howard on their very first possession and continued the trend throughout the night as the Rockets found Howard with one alley-oop after another.
Howard also set the tone on the defensive end by elevating on an incredible block and helping the Rockets force consecutive Spurs shot clock violations in the opening minutes.
“It really didn’t matter who they had on the floor. It’s my job to go out there and set the intensity, especially on the defensive end,” said Howard.
The Rockets held the Spurs to just 29 points in the first half – the lowest point total for an opponent in a half since Houston held Seattle to 25 points in the second half on April 4, 2008.
In the third, James Harden crashed Howard’s dunk party with a vicious posterizing dunk on Aron Baynes. Harden also got it done defensively, notching his second consecutive game with a chase down block on an opponent fast break. Harden stuffed the stat sheet yet again with 20 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 blocks.
Jason Terry contributed off the bench with 16 points on 4-5 3PTM as the Rockets built a lead that got as large as 31 (the largest lead they’ve held in any contest this season).
But the night belonged to Dwight Howard, who finished with 32 points, 16 rebounds and a season worth of highlight reel dunks. Howard has now posted double-doubles in 5 of the 6 games so far this season.
The Rockets are 6-0 for the first time since 1996-97 and join the 1985-86 Nuggets as the only teams to start 6-0 with each win by 10 or more points.
Next, the Rockets prepare for a showdown on Saturday with the also undefeated Golden State Warriors.
“Our next few games, we’re going to be tested defensively, but we’re looking forward to those tests,” said Coach Kevin McHale.