Gordon fuels Rockets’ rally past Murray, Spurs, 128-124

Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon (10) drives to the basket against the San Antonio Spurs during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) (Eric Gay, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

SAN ANTONIO – Eric Gordon had 31 points and the Houston Rockets overcame Dejounte Murray’s career-high 32 to beat the San Antonio Spurs 128-124 on Wednesday night, snapping a three-game skid.

“He was incredible,” Houston coach Stephen Silas said about Gordon. “To score 31 points on 10 shots is like, whoa! It seemed like every time we needed him to make a shot he made it. Or every time we needed him to make a drive, he made it. Eric was as good as I’ve seen him.”

Christian Wood scored 23 points, Kevin Porter Jr. added 18 and Jalen Green had 14 for the Rockets.

San Antonio lost its fourth straight and seventh in eight games.

Murray added 11 assists and 10 rebounds in a triple-double for the struggling Spurs. Bryn Forbes had a season-high six 3-pointers in scoring 21 points, and Keldon Johnson added 18 points.

Gordon had 20 points in the second half as the Rockets rallied from a nine-point deficit in the third quarter after leading throughout the first half. The 14-year veteran finished 9 for 10 from the field.

“That goes for anybody on our team,” Gordon said. “If you see someone has the hot hand, keep going to him.”

Houston entered allowing the most points in the Western Conference at 116.4 per game and the Rockets continued to play at a fevered pace that fuels those numbers.

“We made a concerted effort to run today,” Silas said, “and part of not doing anything yesterday was making sure we had enough energy based off the previous two or three games that we could do that tonight.”

The Spurs returned home after playing seven consecutive road games, the franchise’s longest trip besides its annual February excursion due to the San Antonio Livestock & Rodeo.

San Antonio went 1-6 on the trip and lost numerous players to the NBA’s health and safety protocols because of COVID-19.

Johnson and Devin Vassell were cleared to return for the Spurs, but Doug McDermott, Tre Jones and Derrick White remain in the protocols.

Both teams started quickly, combining to shoot 12 for 17 in the opening four minutes. Houston opened 4 for 7 on 3-pointers in building a 25-15 lead.

“Giving up 39 points in the first quarter makes it pretty difficult,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “You’re digging out of a hole all night. Even if you come back — we took the lead — you still have a lot taken out of you to get to that point and it showed, especially after a long road trip.”

Forbes fueled a Spurs rally, going 6 for 9 on 3-pointers in the first half to set a season high for a game. He was 0 for 2 on 3s in the second half.

“This is a team that loves to cut, but also play in that pick-and-roll,” Rockets forward Jae’Sean Tate said. “We knew coming into the game that communication was going to be one of the most important things to get this win because they have so many moving pieces on their offensive end.”

TIP-INS

Rockets: Rookie center Alperen Sengun missed his seventh straight game as he gets ready to return from the league’s health and safety protocols. Silas said Sengun should be available Friday at Sacramento. ... Houston is 2-4 against Southwest Division teams. … Wood was assessed a technical foul with 19.8 seconds remaining in the first half after continuing to dispute a non-call on his shot attempt. He was whistled after continually saying to official Tyler Ford, “Are you serious?” and “All game” regarding a lack of calls. … Tate was 6 for 6 in scoring 13 points.

Spurs: Forbes has made at least five 3-pointers in 14 games for the Spurs. Only Danny Green, Manu Ginobili, Patty Mills, Chuck Person and Sean Elliott have more such games. Forbes had five 3s in two previous games this season, the most recent against Detroit on Jan. 1. … The Spurs are 1-5 against teams in their division. … Jock Landale returned after missing Monday’s loss in New York with upper back spasms.

A YEAR LATER

Thursday marks one year since Houston traded James Harden to Brooklyn for a slew of draft picks.

“That feels like a long, long time ago,” Silas said.

The Rockets granted Harden’s request to be traded to the Nets, opting to go all-in on a rebuild.

Houston received the Nets' first-round picks in 2022, 2024 and 2026 and can swap picks in 2021, 2023, 2025 and 2027 along with Milwaukee’s 2022 first-round pick. The Rockets also received Victor Oladipo, Dante Exum and Rodions Kurucs, all of whom are no longer with the team.

Houston finished 17-55 last season but has been able to add young standouts in Green, Porter and Josh Christopher as the team continues to try to revive a franchise that has won two NBA titles.

“I love our direction,” Silas said. “I love where we’re going and where we will be, but the growing pains sometimes can be pretty tough.”

UP NEXT

Rockets: At the Sacramento Kings on Friday.

Spurs: Host the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday.

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