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Summer League 2018: Rockets start Vegas off right with win over Pacers

It was a step in the right direction for the Rockets.

Summer League kicked off on the right foot for the Rockets with a 92-89 win over the Pacers.

It was the first chance to see new Rockets Danuel House Jr., Trevon Duval and this year’s draft picks De’Anthony Melton and Vincent Edwards.

House and Duval each notched the team-high with 20 points apiece. Duval came off the bench and was the most effective Rockets shooter this afternoon, going 7-for-10 from the field. House started as the team’s starting small forward today and played well on both ends of the floor and had the highlight of the game with a windmill fast break.

Melton and Edwards, the team’s two draft picks, struggled mightily in their first game as NBA players. As a pair, the two shot a combined 5-for-25 from the field and managed just 11 points. Edwards, a three-point specialist in college, went 1-for-6 from beyond while Melton could not bank a triple.

Melton led the team in minutes played with 30 and was the team’s starting point guard for the game. Throughout the game, it was made clear why Melton is an NBA player as he would make some very impressive plays, but then it would be clouded by a turnover or a missed layup. He’s got a long way to go, but the potential is there.

It was also made clear as to why the Rockets drafted Vincent Edwards with the 52nd pick in the draft, one they purchased from the Utah Jazz. He plays longer than his 6 feet 7 inches perceives and he is a great spacer. His corner three was off today, likely from nerves, but hopefully the more comfortable he gets, the more potential he flashes.

The game also served as the re-introduction to Zhou Qi, Isaiah Hartenstein, and Chinanu Onuaku.

Hartenstein had the team’s lone double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds and showcased a much-improved defensive game with four blocks. He would often clog the paint for the Pacers and make it difficult for them to drive and make lay-ups.

Zhou Qi also showed off his brand new, no-hesitation three-point shot, which found the bottom of the net on two of his four attempts. He only played 20 minutes, but his presence was felt on the court and today was a step in the right direction for his development.

Onuaku was less active, playing just 10 minutes off the bench. In what needs to be a big Summer League for Nanu, this was not the game he needed. Hopefully he can pick it up for these next few games in Vegas.

For this Summer League squad, it is hard to single out a star; the team itself is the star. The Rockets gelled well as a group, but the 25 (!!!) turnovers was the glaring weakness in the team during this afternoon’s matchup.

For the Pacers, a team with a handful of guys with NBA experience, it was first-round pick Aaron Holiday who shined the brightest with a game-high 23 points.

The one thing that everyone can take away from this first game is that the future may not be ready just yet, but there is a whole lot of promise.