Paul Dominates As Rockets Win 12th Straight

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Even with Leonard and Parker back, the sledding is bound to be a little more hard for San Antonio (19-9) when it plays the red-hot Rockets (22-4) on Friday night at the Toyota Center in Houston. Paul led the Rockets with 28 points, 8 assists and 7 steals, shooting 10-of-18 from the field, including 5-of-9 from 3-point range. The Spurs trimmed the lead a bit in the fourth, but never got closer than 14 points as they drop to 19-10 on the season, five games back of the Rockets for first place in the Southwest Division.

That game will be against the Houston Rockets, the team with the best record in the National Basketball Association at 22-4.

Houston got out to an early 31-16 lead behind 10 points from James Harden in the opening period. Patty Mills and Davis Bertans finished with 13 and 12 points respectively in an off-night for San Antonio.

Sparked by All-Star point guard Chris Paul, acquired from the Los Angeles Clippers in an offseason trade, Houston heads into the clash with an 11-game winning streak.

The Rockets drained 18-of-50 three-point attempts. "We can get better offensively and defensively, but right now, it's just about piling up wins". Leonard eclipsed his minutes total (16) from his season debut on Tuesday by logging 17 minutes in the first half. The Spurs had a much better turnover percentage (6.4 vs. 12.9) and had a much better offensive rebounding percentage (34.1 vs. 17.9). Not the best matchup for a player who is trying to work himself back in to being the focal point on a championship-contending team. I've got to take the right steps to getting back.

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The Spurs got back Leonard, but he's on a minute limit to start the season, so I'm not sure he's going to play a big role in this game. I played 16 minutes.

Rockets: Houston played its first game without Luc Mbah a Moute, who suffered a dislocated right shoulder on Wednesday night against Charlotte.

There were a lot of players that played well for Houston, but the game ball goes to Chris Paul in this one. The Rockets are 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 games playing on 1 days rest, 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 home games and 7-2 ATS in their last 9 vs.

This game is scheduled to tip-off at 9:30 pm ET and WatchESPN will provide live streaming coverage from the Toyota Center.

With the challenge of life without Leonard met, the Spurs must now tackle the task of blending their MVP candidate back into the mix. The First Shot was attempted by Sager's daughter, Riley Sager. But since that 2014-15 campaign, Milwaukee has ranked in the bottom third of the league in defensive efficiency, and the inability to improve in that aspect continues to undermine the progress the Bucks have made adding pieces around Antetokounmpo. It's the 18th time this season they've made at least 15, and they are 18-0 in those games. The 18 games with 15 or more 3s made is already the fourth-highest single-season total in National Basketball Association history.

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