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Summer League 2018: Rockets cruise to victory over Clippers

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Without question, the best the team has looked so far.

The Rockets finished Summer League undefeated with a very convincing 104-90 win over the Clippers tonight in Las Vegas.

Houston started out of the gates strong with a 14-4 run and never looked back. It is hard to point out a rough spot for the team tonight. Everything sailed smoothly and every player had a great game.

After the first game, I wrote that the team had no star, that the team itself was the star. That has changed. De’Anthony Melton has played the best over the last two days. He followed a 17-point performance on Sunday with 26 tonight, sinking 9-16 from the floor, five of which were threes. He also had 10 rebounds in his first SL double-double. At just 6’4”, he goes after every board and looks to pride his game on hustle. That’s hard to teach and the Rockets look like they might have a gem on their hands.

Melton is proving that he was picked too low and he has a ton of talent. I cannot wait for Chris Paul to mentor him and have him mature into the team’s point guard of the future. He has the potential to be that good.

The team’s other draft pick, Vincent Edwards, also had his best game of Summer League. His 20 points were his high over the weekend and he also had a team-high +24. Plus/minus does not mean much in Summer League, but when it is a number that high, it is certainly something to pay attention to.

Other guys with good nights include Trevon Duval from Duke and Deng Adel from Louisville. Both guys were able to draw fouls and get to the free throw line early and often. The two shot 12-13 from the charity stripe and the team shot 24-28 from the line. This was the first good stretch of minutes we have seen from Adel, and he was a very capable wing. Seeing him play tonight proved why the Rockets brought him in the first place. He’s a 6’7” stretch four that can guard all positions and get to the foul line. Hopefully we’ll see him more in the games to come.

The veterans on the roster did not get as much run tonight. Someone that did not see the floor at all tonight was Isaiah Hartenstein, who sat out due to a bruised right hand. Zhou Qi had the best performances among the vets with 12 points and five blocks. R.J. Hunter, last game’s leading scorer, played just 20 minutes tonight with seven points. Danuel House also saw less action and had six.

For the Clippers, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander balled out. He had 25 points, five boards and four assists. The team also had 20 points from Vince Hunter, 14 from rookie Jerome Robinson, and 13 from Sindarius Thornwell.

The Rockets join the Nuggets and Suns as the only 3-0 teams in Summer League. However, the Lakers and Blazers could join them in that category tomorrow as they both play their third games. Now, it is onto the Summer League single-elimination tournament, time TBD.