The Rockets struggled to get in an offensive rhythm from the jump, only scoring 13 points on two made field goals in the first quarter. It improved as the game progressed, and they outscored the Warriors 35-14 in the fourth.
In the final frame, the Rockets pushed out nearly an all-Viper lineup with Markel Brown, R.J. Hunter, Chinanu Onuaku, Danuel House and the rookie De’Anthony Melton and the Warriors froze up and could not hit a shot down the stretch.
Golden State dropped their first game in five tries in Summer League, stemming from a 3-0 Sacramento stint and a win in their debut Friday night.
Marcus Derrickson from Georgetown played very well for Golden State, shooting 8-14 from the floor. He looks like a guy that they could give some run with in training camp and/or Santa Cruz. He is a promising stretch four prospect. Jordan Bell also played 16 minutes but scored only two points. It is clear that the Warriors want to diminish his role in Vegas, considering he is easily one of the most talented players here, but the Warriors rolled him back into the game after they relinquished their 15-point lead. Golden State was really trying to be competitive and win this game, and the fact that Houston prevented them from coming back puts a smile on my face.
The standout from this evening’s game was last year’s two-way player R.J. Hunter. He started off cold from beyond, but ended with 24 points on 8-14 shooting from the floor, making five threes.
Other bright spots for the Rockets included Summer League veterans Zhou Qi and Isaiah Hartenstein. The pair of big men were stout on defense and enjoyed solid games on the offensive side of the floor. Hartenstein drew several fouls and went 8-9 from the free throw line with 12 points on the evening. Zhou was perfect from the floor, shooting 3-3, two of the shots being from deep. It was good to see another solid performance from each of them, especially considering one or both of them could have roles on next year’s team.
The most pleasant outcome from the game was Melton’s bounce-back game. The rookie from USC had 17 points on 6-12 shooting and even made two of five shots from beyond. If he can develop a three-point game, he could have a long, successful career in the league. The defense is there for him. He had four steals tonight, but the offense is what he needs to develop. Tonight was a step in the right direction.
The Rockets improve to 2-0 and look to finish undefeated in pool play tomorrow night with a matchup against the Clippers. Tipoff is at 10:30 p.m.