HOUSTON — James Harden had 20 points and the Houston Rockets slowed down the soaring San Antonio Spurs with an 88-84 victory Friday night.
The improved Houston defense held the Spurs to a season low in points to snap their season-best seven-game winning streak.
Houston used an 8-2 run to take a 78-71 lead with about 5 minutes left. Tim Duncan made a hook shot after that, but Harden hit a 3-pointer. A layup by Duncan came next before Harden brought the crowd to its feet with an off-balance 3-pointer from the corner that made it 84-75.
The Spurs resorted to the Hack-A-Howard tactic soon after that, intentionally fouling Dwight Howard on two straight possessions. He missed all four free throws, and a basket by LaMarcus Aldridge got the Spurs to 86-81.
Kawhi Leonard made a 3-pointer after two free throws by Houston to allow San Antonio to cut the lead to four, but he missed a shot a few seconds later and Houston held on for the victory.
Leonard had 20 points to lead San Antonio.