The Houston Rockets led most of the way Monday against the undermanned San Antonio Spurs before having to rally late to eke out a 104-98 home win to lock up the fourth seed in the 2014 Western Conference playoffs.
Houston picked up victories the first three meetings with San Antonio 112-106, 111-98 and 97-90. The last battle was also at Toyota Center with the Rockets grabbing momentum with a 33-18 third period.
With the win Jan. 28 Houston took the season series over the Spurs for the first time since 1996-97, a season before Tim Duncan was drafted. During the 1988-89 NBA campaign the Rockets swept the season series from San Antonio. That was back when Hakeem Olajuwon and David Robinson played.
The first two meetings this year between Houston and the Spurs came in San Antonio on Nov. 30 and Dec. 25. The Rockets led 40-25 after the first quarter Christmas Day and shot 52.3 percent from the floor for the contest. Houston only made 9-of-18 free throws compared to the Spurs sinking 19-of-23. However, San Antonio was 5-of-20 from 3 while the Rockets made half of their 24 attempts behind the arc.