Any observer, fan, coach or player had their sites set on how the rotations, minutes and shooting workload has meaning for the future.
Houston held a single digit lead through most of the game, but let the Hawks takeover in the fourth quarter. Houston went to its starting lineup in an attempt to recover, but their offense sputtered.
In an attempt to win Wednesday's elimination game Houston leaned hard on Isaiah Taylor, Troy Williams, Chris Johnson, Tim Quarterman and Nanu Onuaku. Today Quartermand and Johnson ceded their time to Zhou Qi and L.J. Peak.
In the slower stretches of the game Houston gave considerable showcase minutes to George de Paula, Shawn Long and Matt Jones. None of them factored into the game significantly.
Peak was Houston's best player on the day feasting on the Hawks defensive confusion for 19 points. There's been little rumors of Peak drawing a contract offer. He went undrafted out of Georgetown and is likely destined for a G-League team.
Nanu Onuaku looked immeasurably more engaged than in Wednesday's loss to Denver. He used his size well down low, but his hands leave something to be desired as he continues to have difficultly corralling rebounds and gets in trouble when he puts the ball on the floor. There's still a separation between what Houston wants him to be and where his skills are. This belief was vindicated during the game when the Rockets signed Tarik Black to be a backup center.
Zhou Qi created problems down low for rebounders with his length, but his size didn't intimidate anyone. The Hawks spent three minutes in the second quarter trying to yam on him like you'd do to your friends on an eight foot goal. They didn't connect, but it gave the feeling there was a $100 prize pool for the first dude to dunk on the big man. His shooting was once again suspect as he tallied just 5X points and Diamond Stone gave him fits on the defensive end at multiple junctures.
Jarrod Uthoff didn't impress, but you can see traces of a Rocket in his play. His feet generally stay planted at the three point line and it's clear he's not a top offensive option. Consider him able to park himself in the corner and hoist away.
Tim Quarterman didn't appear in the contest at all. His absence from the game stokes the theory he was acquired by Houston for use in any trade for Carmelo Anthony.
Isaiah Hartenstein was disappointingly limited to a single minute with a wrist injury. His fate for next season is unknown, but with a buyout necessary and limited summer league minutes he seems destined to be stashed overseas next year.
Fun state of the night: Hartenstein picked up three fouls in his single minute of play.
One fun wrinkle of was the play of Hawks big man Ryan Kelly. He posted just 8 points but played like a man who was recently traded to the Rockets then immediately cut. Which he was. He posted a plus-minus of 12.
The red and yellow boys finished 3 - 2 and this was the last game of Summer League for Houston following Wednesday's loss to the Denver Nuggets which was an elimination game for the tournament.