Tony Parker scored 21 points and helped the Spurs beat back a second-half comeback bid by the Rockets for a 115-107 victory Saturday night.
The Spurs led by 13 points in the second quarter and were up by 10 at the half before Houston took its first lead at 67-66 on a dunk by Jordan Hill with 6:06 left in the third quarter.
"Houston is a very hard team to guard," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "We made a lot of big stops when we needed to. I felt fortunate to get out of here with a win as Houston always gives us problems."
Houston's final lead was 89-87 with 9:52 to play on a three-point play by Kyle Lowry. The Rockets tied it at 97 with 6:39 to play, but a 3-pointer by Parker with 6:24 to go put San Antonio in the lead for good.
"It was a great win and a very physical game," Parker said. "We made the big stops and shots at the end. We did a good job as a team in slowing down Lowry and the Houston offense. I thought we did a great job defensively and to get a win on the road."
"All the stops we couldn't get early we were able to get at the end," Ginobili said. "We made some free throws and the game went our way. Houston is a tough team and they are fighting for a playoff spot."
Kevin Martin had 12 points in the Rockets' big third quarter and finished with 28. Courtney Lee had 16 points off the bench.
The Rockets trailed 59-49 at the half before staging a third-quarter comeback that ended with Lowry's running 3-point jump shot at the buzzer for an 82-81 lead going into the final period.
Luis Scola, the Rockets' second-leading scorer, missed his second straight game with a sore left knee.
"I'm very disappointed for our team," Rockets coach Rick Adelman said. "They played really hard after the first quarter. We picked it up defensively and played better, but they made plays down the stretch where we were trying to play with a team that hasn't been on the court very much."
San Antonio took advantage of Houston's cold shooting and porous defense at the start for a 35-25 lead after one quarter. Martin had 10 points in the period.
The Spurs built a 50-37 lead with 7:11 to go in the second quarter. The Rockets made a 10-2 run and pulled within 52-47 before Ginobili hit a 3-point basket and Parker made two baskets in a row to put San Antonio up 59-49 at the half.
"They play well," Rockets center Chuck Hayes said. "They've got a nice core group. They might not be the most exciting above the rim but who cares? If you find a way to win, you can win."
The Spurs are 10-3 in the first game of back-to-backs this season and 9-4 in second games. They beat Sacramento 108-103 Friday night Scola had played 311 consecutive games before sitting out Tuesday's game against Phoenix with a sore left knee. The Rockets started the longest homestand of the season, six games, and play 10 of their final 15 games at home Spurs forward Richard Jefferson returned after missing his first start in 64 games this season Friday because of personal business. Rookie James Anderson replaced him for his first career start.