How did the Spurs beat the Rockets last night?

I know the answer is “defense,” but the San Antonio Spurs started with this lineup last night – George Hill, Roger Mason, Ime Udoka, Tim Duncan and Fabricio Oberto – and they still managed to beat (77-75) a Houston team that was pretty much at full strength. Rafer Alston was suspended for the game and the team is still without Shane Battier due to a foot injury. Still, the Rockets have no business losing to the Spurs, who are without Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.

On the night, Tracy McGrady was just 2-12 from the field, but the Rockets still led by seven heading into the fourth quarter. Tim Duncan (22 points, 5 rebounds) was big down the stretch and he had the game-saving block (on Aaron Brooks’ layup attempt) to seal the win.

When looking at a win like this, maybe the injuries to Ginobili and Parker are a blessing in disguise for the Spurs. Guys like Hill and Mason are getting big minutes, and this experience could very well help San Antonio down the road.

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