Hill, Martin lead Houston Rockets past SA Spurs
Jordan Hill wants to make an impression every minute he's on the floor for the Houston Rockets.
Backing up Yao Ming on Thursday night, Hill scored 16 points to help the Rockets beat San Antonio 90-87 in the Spurs' preseason opener.
Hill played almost 26 minutes in place of Brad Miller, who sat out with a sprained ankle. The Rockets acquired the 6-foot-10 Hill from New York in February in the Tracy McGrady trade.
"Now it's time for me to go out there and give it all I've got," Hill said. "I'm a young guy. I can run the floor, I've got a lot of energy, so I might as well just put it to use."
Kevin Martin scored 21 points to lead Houston. Yao scored five points on a 2-for-8 shooting, grabbed seven rebounds and blocked three shots in 13 minutes. The Rockets are strictly limiting Yao's playing time as he comes back from foot surgery that sidelined him last season.
Yao is happy with his progress so far, and felt more productive than he was in Tuesday's 97-88 loss to Orlando.
"I just tried to be a little more active than the first game," Yao said. "I tested myself in the first game, and I tried to do a little bit more."
The 'big three'
Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan started for the Spurs, but none of their 'Big Three' played for more than 17 minutes. Parker scored 10 points, Duncan grabbed seven rebounds and Ginobili had five assists.
DeJuan Blair led the Spurs with 12 points. The 6-7 Blair was drafted by the Spurs in 2009 and was facing Yao for the first time. The 7-6 Yao blocked two of Blair's shots in the third quarter.
"He's a big dude, that's all I can say," Blair said. "When I saw him, I thought, 'Oh, my Lord!' He's huge."
Aaron Brooks scored 14 and Chuck Hayes pulled down 10 rebounds for Houston.
The Rockets play two preseason games in Houston this weekend, then embark on a weeklong tour of China, where they'll play New Jersey twice. Martin said the Rockets need to focus on playing at a faster pace in the games ahead.
"Our strength last year was pushing the ball and getting some easy buckets," Martin said. "We have to work the ball around so everybody is satisfied."
The Rockets led by nine after three quarters, and starters Brooks, Martin and Shane Battier were still on the floor as the fourth quarter began. By then, all five San Antonio starters were done for the night.
Houston coach Rick Adelman pulled the last of his starters with 8:51 left and the Rockets leading 80-74. The reserves nearly blew a 10-point lead in the last five minutes.