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Spurs Fall Short in Final Minute to Lose to Rockets

The San Antonio Spurs lost the season series against the Houston Rockets.

For the fourth and final time this season, the San Antonio Spurs faced off with the Houston Rockets. With Alperen Sengun sitting out for Houston, the Spurs were expected to attack the paint, although they instead capitalized on Houston's tendency to collapse in the paint.

Ultimately, it was not enough to nab a win in the Frost Bank Center.

Devin Vassell San Antonio Spurs Fred VanVleet Houston Rockets

Mar 12, 2024; San Antonio, Texas, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Devin Vassell (24) shoots over Houston Rockets guard Fred VanVleet (5) during the first half at Frost Bank Center.

The Spurs were led by Tre Jones, who scored 24 points on 60 percent shooting. 18 of his points came in the first half. Houston crowded below the paint on defense, and Victor Wembanyama finished the first half with only two points, although he dished out four assists.

Wembanyama would finish with 13 points in the loss.

Houston took advantage of a big game from Fred VanVleet who, in Sengun's absence, posted 21 points and seven assists. 

While the Spurs were led by Jones, Sandro Mamukelashvili had an excellent game, posting six points and five rebounds. His second-half heroics were one of the main talking points for Dan Weiss and Sean Elliott.

"His energy is just contagious!" exclaimed Weiss after Mamukelashvili grabbed one of his four offensive rebounds and added a putback layup.

The Spurs nearly overcame a nine-point fourth-quarter deficit but ultimately lost despite the late-game effort.

Houston and San Antonio appear to have a budding rivalry in the mix. After Jeremy Sochan and Amen Thompson got tied up and had to be separated in the last matchup, Jalen Green exchanged words with Tre Jones, and Zach Collins and Jabari Smith Jr. got physical in the second quarter, although play wasn't stopped and no fouls were called, it was just old fashioned physical play.

The Spurs and Rockets will not face off until next season, although each young team will be looking for further improvement next year.