The Houston Rockets took a loss in their second preseason game in a 113-106 defeat to the Miami Heat, Thursday night inside the Toyota Center in Houston. Jalen Green led the Rockets in scoring with a team-best 20 points (6-15 FG, 4-9 3PT), but it wasn’t enough as Miami had two players who scored in double figures in Tyler Herro (24) and Duncan Robinson (20).
With their preseason record dropping to 1-1 ahead of Monday’s match against the Toronto Raptors, here are three observations from the Rockets’ preseason defeat against the Heat.
Jalen Green had a great night scoring, but must learn how to play within the offense:
In just two games, Jalen Green has already established himself as a go-to scorer. On a night where the Rockets could not get anything going offensively, it was Green that tried to keep Houston afloat with his scoring.
Unlike the Washington Wizards, the Heat made it difficult for Green to get to the basket. But with the lane closed, Green accumulated most of his points relying on his jumper.
The most significant difference for Green in the two preseason games was his scoring from behind the arc. After missing all six shot attempts on Tuesday, Green connected on four out of his nine triples.
But as vast of a night Green had scoring the ball — in some ways — he could have been the reason why Houston’s offense staggered throughout the night.
Silas wants his players to share the ball. He believes the more players that touch the ball amid a half-court setting, the more efficient his offense can become. But each time Green touched the ball, it appeared that he was more focused on scoring versus playing within the offense and looking for his teammates.
Green’s 20 points on the night were a tad vacant as it seems to result in an empty stat.
Green is young, and there will be several nights throughout the season where his inexperience will show. Although he should have played less one-on-one ball, it’s hard to discredit the exceptionable night Green had in scoring.
“The way they were bumping us off screens, their physicality and ball pressure, it makes it hard. You have to get to the next action. You cannot expect to score if their defense is set. It’s rare that you can score off one pass, you have to get the ball moving. It’s just another thing we have to learn as a group.” — Stephen Silas
Rockets’ defense was non-existent:
After Tuesday’s preseason victory against the Wizards, Stephen Silas said the Rockets focused on defense the next day at practice. A few of the elements the Rockets emphasize were their defensive rotations and help defense. But against the Heat, it seemed as if the Rockets never went over either of the defensive strategies.
Houston’s defense against the Heat was a bit appalling. They were late in their defensive rotations, which left an opposing player open for an uncontested three. And when the Heat penetrated the lane, the Rockets’ help defense was either late or nowhere to be found — allowing Miami to score multiple points from inside the restricted area.
Silas says defense is all about effort, energy and strategy, but the Rockets showed neither through the 40 minutes. Miami shot 48.2 percent from the field, 30 percent from deep, while scoring 44 points in the paint.
“I told this team before the game, ‘do not be surprised by hard this team plays.’ Going through experiences as we went through tonight, where they were running and we were just back on our heels, we gotta learn and grow from this game. That’s the great thing about the preseason, we know we have the time to adjust and grow.” — Silas
Rockets could use Dante Exum as a secondary playmaker off the bench:
Prior to the start of preseason, Stephen Silas said he did not have a role for Dante Exum. But following his performance against the Heat Thursday night, Silas could use Exum as a secondary playmaker coming off the bench.
Exum made the most out of his opportunity against the Heat. He served as a reliable facilitator in the second quarter to assists an offense that became a bit stagnant in the absence of Kevin Porter Jr.
He set up Alperen Sengun for an easy dunk and connected with Daniel Theis twice — one of his two assists during the quarter was an alley-oop to the German big man.
Each time Exum stepped onto the floor, the Rockets’ offense began to run efficiently. His experience as a floor general nearly led Houston to another comeback victory, as the Rockets outscored the Heat 36-22 in the fourth quarter. Exum ended the game with half a dozen assists in the loss.