San Antonio Spurs at Houston Rockets (+1.5, 213.5)
Tony Parker excelled in his first game back and the San Antonio Spurs attempt to complete a four-game sweep of Houston when they visit the Rockets on Sunday. Parker had 22 points in Friday’s overtime victory over the Utah Jazz after missing the previous eight with an ankle injury. The victory allowed the Spurs to maintain their 2 1/2-game lead over the Oklahoma City Thunder in the battle for the top spot in the Western Conference.
Houston is 4-1 on a seven-game homestand and entering a stretch in which it plays the Spurs, Indiana Pacers, Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Clippers to complete the month. “These next four are going to really test us,” point guard Jeremy Lin said after Friday’s rout of the Cleveland Cavaliers. “We’re going to play really, really good teams. This is going to be it. This could make or break it for us so we realize that.” The Rockets can improve to a season-high eight games above .500 by beating the Spurs. San Antonio enters with a four-game winning streak and has averaged 123.3 points in winning the first three meetings with Houston.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, Fox Sports Southwest (San Antonio), Comcast SportsNet Houston
ABOUT THE SPURS (53-16): Parker played nearly 37 minutes in his first outing since March 1. He was tentative early but was at the top of his game in overtime when he scored six of San Antonio’s 14 points. “Tony was a little bit shy in the first half,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said afterward. “He was just trying to feel his way a little bit. The game got tight at the end in regulation and then in overtime, and he was Tony Parker. Like I said, up until the time he got hurt, there wasn’t a point guard in the league playing better than Tony Parker.” Forward Tim Duncan had 19 points and 16 rebounds against Utah and moved into 13th-place on the all-time rebounding list with 13,113, surpassing Shaquille O’Neal (13,099). Duncan is averaging 25.5 points and 15 rebounds over the last four games.
ABOUT THE ROCKETS (38-31): Guard James Harden scored 20 points against Cleveland and has tallied 20 or more in 24 of his last 26 outings. Harden is averaging 31 points in two games against the Spurs this season. He missed one of the matchups with an ankle injury. Lin matched his career high with 38 points in the game Harden was sidelined. Lin scored a season-low four points against the Cavaliers after averaging 23 over his previous three outings. Center Omer Asik has grabbed 10 or more rebounds in 22 of the last 24 games. He had 13 points and 11 boards against Cleveland.
* Spurs are 6-0 ATS in their last six Sunday games.
* Rockets are 1-6 ATS in their last seven Sunday games.
* Under is 5-0 in Rockets’ last five overall.
* Spurs are 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings.
1. San Antonio has won the last four meetings.
2. Houston is 18-3 when scoring 115 or more points this season.
3. Duncan has recorded 38 double-doubles in 59 career regular-season games against the Rockets.