1. The Spurs dominated the paint
The Spurs are the second-best team in the entire league in terms of points in the paint, behind only the Memphis Grizzlies. In their last three matchups against the Rockets, the Spurs have averaged 65 points in the paint. For the season, they sit at 53, so clearly, Houston just can’t stop them.
The Spurs posted 56 rebounds compared to Houston’s 44, and 17 of those came on the offensive end. Jakob Poeltl grabbed five offensive boards, which is one more than his average on the season. He is the second-best offensive rebounder in the league this year, behind only Steven Adams. It should be noted that Adams is on Memphis, who is just dominating the paint this year.
The Spurs deployed three big men in the victory on Monday. Zach Collins and Jock Landale came off the bench, and with Poeltl, the trio shot a combined 14/21 from inside the arc. If the Spurs’ bigs can remain a reliable scoring threat on the interior, then the Spurs can reasonably exceed expectations.
Aside from points and offensive rebounds, the Spurs should excel on the defensive end. Poeltl and Collins are heralded as defensive-minded players, and Landale has shown success as a shot-blocker, even if he lacks a well-rounded defensive game.
The Spurs only blocked five shots in their victory, and one of those came from well outside the paint. The Spurs are scoring and getting second chance looks at a very high clip, but they need to lock down the opposition in the paint as well.