Blogtable: Rockets Or Spurs Out West?

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.


Week 38: On lottery teams | Playoff wins: Nets or Knicks | Playoff wins: Rockets or Spurs


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Who wins more playoff games next season: the Spurs or Rockets?

Steve Aschburner, NBA.com: Sticking with the Spurs for now. Their championship window might be closing — how long have we been saying that? — and the Rockets’ might be opening, but the former’s still bigger for the spring of 2014, in my view. I assume Gregg Popovich already has drawn up a dozen or so things he wants his guys to do against Dwight Howard in Houston garb. I worry a little about the shell-shock of Game 6 and The Finals That Got Away, but it also gives San Antonio something fresh for motivation. Kind of like a boxer tasting his own blood and the rush that can come from that. The Rockets? Their days will come.

Fran Blinebury, NBA.com: The Rockets could jump into the top half of the Western Conference playoff bracket, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into a deep playoff run. That won’t happen until Dwight Howard makes a real commitment to being a serious competitor. You can keep thinking the Spurs’ time as a contender is over at your own peril. While Manu Ginobili is showing wear and tear with his age, Kawhi Leonard has much more upside. Tim Duncan and Tony Parker are still the heart and soul and the free-agent signings of Jeff Pendergraph and Marco Belinelli add depth. The Rockets are hopeful. The Spurs are still very much for real.

Jeff Caplan, NBA.com: Now this is a good one. Can I call it a toss-up? Had the Spurs not pulled out that Game 1 thriller against Golden State in the West semifinals, they might have been out on their rears and all of us would be picking the James Harden-Dwight Howard Rockets as a no-brainer over the forever-aging Spurs. Instead, the Spurs made it back to The Finals and came within 28 seconds of knocking off the Heat in Game 6. So what does it all mean? I have no idea. Plenty of skeptics will follow Howard until he proves he’s a serious leader of men, even with a smile on his face, which I think he will do during this first decision-less season in a couple years. I’ll take the Rockets.

Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com: The Spurs. I think the Rockets will become a greater factor in the West, after a first-round elimination this year, but I have decided to be a year late on burying the Spurs since everyone else annually decides to be a year early. Besides, the Spurs will be good.

John Schuhmann, NBA.com: San Antonio. The Spurs will likely have the more consistent offense and already have a great defense, having allowed the third-fewest points per 100 possessions last season. The Rockets can get there, but it will take more than the addition of Dwight Howard, because they already had a great defensive center with Omer Asik. For the Rockets to improve 10 or more spots from 17th in defensive efficiency, they will need improvement on the perimeter.

Sekou Smith, NBA.com: Great question. At first blush, the Spurs would seem like the ideal pick. They were 30 seconds away from dethroning the Miami Heat and taking Larry O’Brien back to San Antonio. With the cast coming back mostly intact, there is no reason to believe the Spurs will take a step back in the Western Conference playoffs next season. Sure, the Rockets have the summer buzz, courtesy of their successful courtship of Dwight Howard. But until I see the new-look Rockets in the flesh, until I see Howard and James Harden figure out the nuances of leading a young crew through some of the trials and tribulations that are sure to come, I’m sticking with my gut instinct. The Spurs win more playoff games next season … the Rockets’ time will come later.

Lang Whitaker, NBA.com’s All Ball blog: The Spurs. I think Houston will be pretty good and will probably finish in the top half of the Western Conference, but I learned many years ago to never bet against the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs are the Jason Vorhees of the Western Conference — every time you think they’re out, they return and just keep coming after you.

55 Comments

  1. Tony says:

    I used to root for the Thunder but dont forget last year playoff. Durant was the only one who who was carrying the team. All other guys were playing worse than the D league.Perkin,Ibaka,Thabo were completely useless. Martin warmed up for two or three games. Unless they change their chemistry or new player, if Durant or WB go down, they will never advance

  2. caloyski says:

    The WEST is very unpridictable– I am inclined to believe that there will be a NEW WEST CONFERENCE Champion this year.–99% sure

  3. htownroxfan says:

    The teams that made it to the playoffs last year, will do it agian this season. Now i can see the rockets being the 5th seed at the very least. And of course id like to them win it all now. Needless to say ive been a houston fan as long i can remember. I dislike SA but i cant deny that they have quite the pedigree of a winning team. the clips, grizzle and gsw will make the playoffs interesting but they wont going to the finals anytime soon. I like to see SA vs HOU in the wcf. But this just my opinion. May the best team win it all.

  4. There is definately a great deal to find out about this topic.
    I love all of the points you’ve made.

  5. hkst51r says:

    West

    1. Spurs
    2. Thunder
    3. Clippers
    4. Rockets
    5. Grizzlies
    6. Warriors
    7. Nuggets
    8. Timberwolves/Pelicans/Lakers

    Not sure Lakers will make the playoffs. It depends on when Kobe comes back.

    If anyone is interested of what I think about Dwight winning a championship, here is a link

    http://voices.yahoo.com/why-dwight-howard-rockets-will-never-win-an-12225115.html?cat=14

  6. MarkOlsen says:

    In terms of talent in the West:

    1. Clippers
    2. Golden State
    3. Spurs
    4. Thunder
    5. Houston
    6. Memphis

    Playoff Contenders: Nuggets, Wolves, Pelicans, Trailblazers, Mavericks

    Non-contenders: Lakers, Kings, Suns, Jazz

    Who will ACTUALLY come out of the West? Spurs again. Match-ups matter, and the Spurs have the best number of favorable matchups.

  7. Pops says:

    West
    1. OKC
    2. Spurs
    3. Clippers
    4. GSW
    5. Houston
    6. Memphis
    7. Wolves
    8. Lakers/NOP

    East
    1. MIA
    2. IND
    3. CHI
    4. NETS
    5. NYK
    6. TOR
    7. DET
    8. CLE
    4.

  8. The Rack says:

    I don’t understand how some of you are putting OKC ahead of the Spurs. The Spurs were up 2-0 on OKC two years ago when the refs decided to stop calling fouls. OKC was not as good last year as soon as they lost Harden and picked up Martin. This year OKC wont even be as good as last years team after losing Martin and replacing him with nobody. Westbrook and Durant cant play 48 minutes a game for 82 games. The spurs on the other hand have the same team that had the best record three years ago, were within two games of the finals two years ago, and 28 seconds from a title last year.

  9. JBLS says:

    Is OKC not in the winning picture anymore? Dwight is all hype.

  10. chlo says:

    OESTE
    1. SPURS
    2. OKC
    3. HOUSTON
    4. GSW
    5. CLIPPERS
    6. MEMPHIS
    7. DENVER
    8. T-WOLVES

    ESTE

    1.MIAMI
    2.INDIANA
    3. CHICAGO
    4. NETS
    5. N.Y.K
    6. CAVS
    7. 76ERS
    8.HAWKS

  11. y2jerichoholic says:

    The Rockets have proven nothing (yet), the Spurs have proved everything, so I’d take SA.

  12. think outside the paint says:

    SPURS. rockets can escape the first round only if they’ll be the number 1 team. in my own opinion from the 7 other team who made the playoff last year, lakers is the only team the rockets can beat coz lakers is still unorganized.

  13. Duv says:

    As hopeful as I am as a Rockets fan, at the moment the Spurs still have the edge. Rockets are looking up but have a lot of work to do to build team chemistry. Provided the Spurs remain injury free (tougher with an aging team), they should still be contenders. But OKC with a healthy Westbrook are still the team to beat. As for the Warriors, they are way too over hyped right now. Andrew BOGUT is a DONUT. That preacher Marc Jackson better go back to preaching after next season.

  14. Sergeo says:

    The Spurs,
    they are old alright, but Green isn’t and Kwahi isn’t too. Then also Gary Neal is young and please we all have seen how those guys have contribute to keep the spurs in the finals against Miami.
    So it s wrong to say they are old, the spurs have great young bench players that can step up every time they need. Remember Tiago splitter defending on Dwight Howard and how it ends up. So please people should come down with this hype on Dwight Howard specially against the best team in the NBA: the Spurs. Popovich has built up the best bench players of the NBA for the last 10 years. Look at it even with Tony Parker he was able to build up George Hill who is now playing in the second best team of the same Divison where Miami is. And don t forget they beat Shaq with Kobe, they beat Lebron James with the Cavs, they beat the Pistons (I think). Popovich and the SPURS will set Dwight Howard before problems he will not be able to solve, until he gets more mature and this year is to early for him to rise that high again

  15. J says:

    why you specifically say spurs what about thunder or clips…………………anyway
    the spurs cause their better hahaha
    rockets prob gonna get 5th seed

  16. Marcin F says:

    I hope the next year will be the Mavericks year. Vince Carter deserves the ring for all he has done in his career. It’s just my wish for now, but let’s see what Monta brings to the team.

  17. flowson says:

    I’m actually thinkin something like

    1: Spurs
    2: Thunder
    3: Clippers
    4: Warriors
    5: Rockets
    6: Grizz
    7: Nuggets
    8: Mavericks (I think the can squeeze out 8th, they played a lot better when Dirk came back and started playing well)

    A wild card could definitely be the Timberwolves, Lakers or the Pelicans.

    • Marco29 says:

      I would add Portland to the wild cards bit the rest seems fine.
      Jazz, Suns and Kings are probably the only ones you can almost count out for sure.

  18. Nothing says:

    Did anybody that’s saying OKC actually read the question?
    Who wins more playoff games next season: the Spurs or Rockets?

  19. Yayo903 says:

    Why is everyone counting out the Thunder? Sure they lost Martin, but he wasn’t all he was cracked up to be. He was nonexistent at the end of the season and the playoffs and they still managed to beat the Rockets. MARK MY WORDS, OKC will end up in the top 2 seeds and they will advance to the Conference finals.

  20. Vin says:

    I think OKC will be the top team out of the west, reggie jackson should be better then what he was last year, and Westbrook is comin back. They did finish with the top seed last year. J.Lamb and R.Jackson should be able to fill the whole left by Kmart. Another team to not sleep on are the T-wolves. They picked up kmart and K.love should be healthy.

  21. copy and paste says:

    where is the Thunder? because I have the thunder first. Rockets arent even top four. Not with that defense. Howard hasnt proved to be a franchise changer. Im sorry, this is what you guys wrote about the Lakers last year…..you are aware of this, right? Thunder first, spurs second, warriors third, and probably clips fourth.

  22. kobe4TW says:

    1. Lakers
    2. Warriors
    3. Thunder
    4. Spurs
    5. Clippers
    6. Nuggets
    7.Grizzlies
    8. Rockets

  23. Pacers Fan says:

    The Spurs will, because the most dominant player on both of these teams is Tony Parker. He and Tim Duncan Just seem to be like a fine wine, better with age.

  24. tapecity21 says:

    have we learned nothing from the past years that you cannot just say that a team will be very good just because they added more talent. in reference to the nets of last year and the lakers of last year. we already know the talent that the spurs have and have had for the past 15 years. i think right now the rockets are over rated and the spurs will win more playoff games than them.

    • Shh says:

      There’s a team who added more talent and went to three straight finals and won 2 out of 3. They’re the reason people have high expectations when talents are combined in one team.

  25. theholyspectator says:

    i believe the spurs championship days are over…only way i see them goin to the finals is if the other top contending teams in the west have players who get hurt…i really believe that had westbrook not gotten injured we woulda saw okc vs heat in the finals…would have been not as entertaining as the spurs vs heat series but thats what it woulda been, so heres my list..

    WEST
    1. OKC
    2. Spurs
    3. Clippers
    4. GSW
    5 Grizz/Rockets

  26. waltwilliams55 says:

    why you think the thunder anywhere near 3 seed? Not with that weak bench.

  27. Kamote says:

    Between the two, I’d say San Antonio. DH and Harden still has to establish about their touches. The Spurs, even is they’re Big 3 are already aging, they can still rely on TP to lead the team. Duncan doesn’t have to put a lot of minutes during the season, but he is still a factor next year. And with a young improving core in Kawhi, Green and Tiago, and as long as Pop is there, then they’ll still be one of the tougher teams in the West people will continue to overlook.

  28. PIpsqueak48 says:

    The West is a toss up, OKC lost a very important player, the Spurs may not have it in them but don’t count them out, and the Clips and Warriors are new and improved. Honestly if I don’t think Dwight will be able to play with these guys his first year, look what happened on the Lakers with a future hall of famer lineup. He has his own issues he needs to work out (look at him trying to post up in most games for instance) in which he needs to work out himself. Honestly the Rockets still don’t look good because teams now have stacked benches, and lets face it, Houston’s best player off the bench(besides Omer who wants out) is probably Terrence Ross, not to mention the hideous guard rotation. Honestly the Bobcats bench is better.(Nothing against the Bobcats, I happen to like the Bobcats despite their losing ways.)

  29. celentano says:

    Nope! No Spurs anymore at the finals 2014,this year had they’re last chance to win once again.it’s over for the trio!
    Best placement Spurs can reach is the conference finals or less like second round 2014,i bet my house on it!
    Spurs only has a chance when many important players from other team’s are injured.
    It’s gonne be a interesting season no doubt.

  30. NbaGuru says:

    Love the voorhees comment and i agree. Duncan and ginobli are fading but the spurs are on the rise.

  31. kobe says:

    spurs are still team to beat…followed by OKC CLIPPERS GOLDEN STATE MEMPHIS…ROCKETS HAHAHA..WAIT TILL D12 GIVES UP AND WANTS OUT ..

  32. xobhcnul says:

    “The Spurs are the Jason Vorhees of the Western Conference — every time you think they’re out, they return and just keep coming after you.” —-A million times this.

  33. Shawn K says:

    Wow, this is a tough one. While I agree with the people saying the Rockets will be better because they’re younger and have stars James Harden and Dwight Howard leading them, I got to go with the Spurs. While they are an aging roster, look what they did in the last postseason! They came within seconds of being the NBA Champions. And now that they have more depth while keeping their main core, and now having been to the finals again and the motivation of revenge pushing them, I think the Spurs go all the way this season. Now as I said before, the Spurs have an aging core group, so I think they need to lean on their young player a bit more during the regular season to try and keep guys like Duncan, Ginobli, and even Parker fresh for the postseason. The Spurs might not be the top three seeds in the playoff bracket, but I truly believe that the fire lit under them after the finals will motivate them to the championship this season.

  34. amitpal says:

    Neither. Why is it whenever someone get a great player we always think oh now they r going to win the championship. I think the team to beat is stilll the thunder in the west. I think the spurs r just to old, and to injury prone. Tony parker ggets hurt every other game. And manu even when healthy he just doesnt have it anymore. He to old and cant get past athletic players. I think spurs had there chance last year. The thunder have the biggest chance of coming out of the west.

  35. kuyabest says:

    The Spurs are too old and tired! They should re-organize just like the Celtics!

  36. kuyabest says:

    The Rockets, of course. I am already tired of the old Spurs! They should start to re-organize just like the Celtics… Better to start again with some very fresh faces!

  37. steppx says:

    where is the Thunder? because I have the thunder first. Rockets arent even top four. Not with that defense. Howard hasnt proved to be a franchise changer. Im sorry, this is what you guys wrote about the Lakers last year…..you are aware of this, right? Thunder first, spurs second, warriors third, and probably clips fourth.

    • Captain's Log says:

      The Thunder might slip during the regular season depending on Westbrook’s health. Also they could use another piece coming off the bench. The Clippers are going to be for real this year, with thier improved perimeter shooting and Doc Rivers, though so will the Warriors. It’s tough to say how the Wild West will pan out but I put the Clippers at the top with the Spurs.

  38. sleeplessbull says:

    neither nor.. GOLDEN STATE!!!!! remember this!!!

    • UFO says:

      In my opinion,chance of getting out from the tough west
      1. SAS
      2. OKC
      3. LAC
      4. MEM/GS/HOUSTON
      …Dont see any other team has a chance

      • I think the finals will be Houston V.S. Brooklyn

      • radar love says:

        You are crazy! Houston vs Brooklyn! LOL…. LOL… LOL

      • Shh says:

        LMFAO Houston vs Brooklyn, you literal sound more stupid than the Heat ‘fans’ who say ‘D12 to HEAT!!’ or ‘CP3 to HEAT!!’.

      • Shh says:

        literally*

      • Migo says:

        You people can’t take a “joke dont click my name” was being sarcastic do you people know what that is?

      • JeffX says:

        Id bet real money neither make it. lol

      • JeffX says:

        Agree with UFO regarding top 3 in West, and if the clippers can find a dictionary and look up the meaning of defence they could be a real threat, otherwise 3rd. Watch Memphis & GSW for they should improve as should Houston if they had a decent PG (Lin hasn’t proved to be the Linsanity Houston had hoped for). In the East there are only three teams with the Nets coming 4th at best. The teams are the Bulls, Heat and Pacers. Heat and Pacers should improve as they both have done well in the draft and trades. It remains to be seen what Heat can afford, or whether there is a trade yet to be made concerning one of the Big 3. Ellis is showing promise for the Heat tho.