NBA preseason schedule: Spurs meet new-look Rockets on Thursday night

USA TODAY Sports

The Spurs meet Dwight Howard's Rockets for the first time Thursday night.

The San Antonio Spurs meet one of their biggest challengers for the Western Conference throne on Thursday night when the Houston Rockets come to town. Hoping to defend their conference title amidst an increasingly competitive field, the Spurs could start by asserting themselves as the best team in Texas entering the season.

With Dwight Howard joining an impressive core already featuring James Harden, Chandler Parsons, Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin, the Rockets have quickly emerged as possible contenders this season. However, compared to the steady ship being ran in San Antonio over the past decade, uncertainty looms over Houston entering the 2013-14 season.

Much of that starts with the power forward position, where the team remains unclear on how it'll actually fill those minutes. Second-year big man Terrence Jones stands as the team's best long-term option, but with immediate title aspirations in mind, a trade featuring Asik and/or other pieces could be necessary to add reinforcements.

After the league played 11 games Wednesday night, there are only three other games on Thursday's slate, but a late-night contest between Golden State and Portland should be worth watching if you're still up. It's tough to complain about a Stephen Curry-Damian Lillard matchup regardless of when tip off occurs.

Here's the full schedule for Thursday night:

Game Time (ET) TV
Cleveland Cavaliers at Charlotte Bobcats
7 p.m. Fox Sports Ohio
Minnesota Timberwolves at Detroit Pistons
7:30 p.m. Fox Sports Detroit
Houston Rockets at San Antonio Spurs 8 p.m. TNT
Portland Trail Blazers at Golden State Warriors
10:30 p.m.

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