After leading by as many as 16 and starting the fourth quarter with a 15-point advantage, the San Antonio Spurs barely snuck by the Houston Rockets on Monday night to extend their winning streak to four.
The Spurs were propelled by interior dominance and a brilliant performance by Dejounte Murray, but it all came down to the final shot by Kenyon Martin Jr that rimmed out after spinning around the hoop to keep the Spurs ahead as the final buzzer sounded.
The game looked like an easy route for the large majority of playing time. Murray and Jakob Poeltl were automatic the entire game, and Keldon Johnson had several highlight-worthy plays early on to set a quick tone. The Rockets managed to stay in the game thanks to their 3-point shooting and a career night for rookie Jalen Green but experienced trumped youth, and Dejounte outplayed the second overall pick down the stretch.
In what should have been a blowout win, the Spurs fought tooth and nail to keep their lead and secure the victory. Some fans would rather the Spurs lose games like this one to get the best draft pick available, but with four consecutive victories and the Los Angeles Lakers doing everything they can to miss the playoffs, it looks like the Silver and Black will find themselves in the play-in game and have a very real chance to put together a surprising run come the postseason.
With that in mind, there were three trends from the win in Houston that the Spurs need to carry forward to have any hope of postseason success.