Rockets Beat Spurs 99-89

Houston Rockets v San Antonio Spurs

Cedi Osman #16 of the San Antonio Spurs blocks shot of Jabari Smith #10 of the Houston Rockets during first half action in a pre-season NBA game at Frost Bank Center on October 16, 2023 in San Antonio, Texas. Photo: Ronald Cortes / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

The San Antonio Spurs fell to the Houston Rockets 99-89 in a pre-season game at Frost Bank Center.

Zach Collins lead the Spurs with 18 points. Keldon Johnson added 11 points and Malaki Branham scored 10 points to give the Spurs three players in double figures.

Victor Wembanyama did not play in the game.

The Spurs will return to action on Wednesday night for another game against the Rockets and then play Friday against the Warriors in their final preseason game.

The regular season kicks off on October 25 against the Mavericks at the Frost Bank Center.



Spurs Head Coach Greg Popovich

(On Keldon Johnson…)

"He was a little bit rusty, but he looked really healthy. His aggression was just there. He's working really hard defensively. Even got a few shots up. So, I think it was a good game for him to get back into the middle of everything."

(On Zach Collins…) 

"As he's gotten healthier through last season, he's gotten more and more confident. He's worked on his post moves a great deal [and] his three-point shot. He's become very, very important to us."

(On Cedi Osman…) 

"He's a pro. He's a tough kid. He's confident, he's a team player, he's just solid. He's doing well on both ends."

 Spurs Power Forward Zach Collins

(On his performance…) 

"Made some good shots, got in the post, took my time this time. Last time at [Oklahoma City], I was kind of rushing everything and doing too many moves. So, I tried to simplify [it] tonight and it worked out. They were switching a lot. If you have a bigger lineup up there you've got to expose that, otherwise you're just going to be weaving across the top of the key the whole time. So, I was glad I was able to do that."

(On what he likes about preseason games so far…) 

"I think we're competing more defensively. I thought tonight was really good, even though we were fouling a lot, and they missed a lot of free throws. We still held them under 50 for the half. [We] did that with Devin [Vassell] out, Victor [Wembanyama] out, Tre [Jones] out. They’re really good competitive defenders. So that was a really good sign, and that's going to be the key for us this year."

(On his teammates…) 

“[Cedi] Osman, he's a veteran and he's very strong. His straight-line drives are really aggressive. He gets that shoulder into you; he can use his body well. Just a smart guy [and] can shoot the ball. Just another one of those big wings that can shoot. When he locks down on defense, it's going to help us a lot too. Jeremy, I think he's doing good. Adjusting to being a point guard and getting reps at that, I'm sure it's not easy. He's embracing it. He's not backing down. He never looks rattled to me, even when he turns the ball over a few times or misses a shot. He's never rattled. And for the rest of the four guys out there, when you see your point guard poised like that, no matter what, it helps everyone."

Spurs Small Forward Keldon Johnson

(On returning after injury…)

“I felt great. It feels good to be back out there with my teammates, having fun, going out there competing against a different opponent. It’s a different standard that we hold each other to, going out there and just filling everything out. And for me, it's my fifth year. I just need to continue to get better. I feel like I'm making strides to do that, and I’m just happy to be out there. I felt out of rhythm at times. That’s expected, but for the most part I felt great. I feel I made some great plays tonight and so now just got to build on that.”

(On the emphasis of defense…)

“It wasn't perfect by any means, but it's about getting better each and every day. Intensity has been there. I feel like every year we talk about how we bond and how we connect as a group, but I feel like the defense is the starting point. Everything else we can figure out. You have to lock in on defense and have that effort every night to stop the person that's in front of us and help each other out. Then, I think we'll be in good shape. But that's what I took away from tonight is that every game we can get better on defense by trying to make the right plays. Obviously, we're not going to be perfect, but being in the right rotation, making the right shift, trying to make the right plays, helping each other out. Things like that are going to help.” 

(On Zach Collins’ performance…) 

“I've been saying since Zach's been here that he's only going to get better. He's a gym rat, he works his butt off every day. Zach is really physical, and Zach does what Zach does. You can depend on that on a nightly basis.” 

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