If the first official matchup between Jalen Green and Cade Cunningham is anything like the rest, the NBA is in for a treat.
Green finished with 23 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists while Cuningham had 20 points and pulled down 4 rebounds but unfortunately for the Rockets, it was Cade’s team that walked away victorious - winning 112-104.
When fans decided to check the schedule to see who would be featured on Wednesday’s ESPN slot, many of them undoubtedly scratched their heads. And after an opening quarter of basketball, they likely grew even more confused.
While both Houston and Detroit were playing hard, they were also playing an unpleasant level of basketball; that would eventually change. But before the game became entertaining, Christian Wood was leading the way with seven points after the opening quarter and ended up finishing with 20 points on 7-14 shooting and 9 rebounds.
In the following quarter, the Rockets looked much more lively and had spent nearly the entire 12 minutes building momentum. That is until they turned the ball over twice in the final 25 seconds of the half and the Pistons were able to capitalize off of them by knocking down two three-pointers.
H-Town went into the locker room with a 50-49 lead and from there is when the game became worthy of being on national television. It wasn’t just the implosion from Detroit’s Jerami Grant who was hitting tough shots and rejected lay-ups off the glass, it also wasn’t just Green driving past Cunningham and yelling in his face after a dunk - it was the level at which both teams were competing.
During that third frame, it began to feel as if this wasn’t just another regular-season game, there was a sense of we aren’t going to lose to these guys that filled the air. That mindset could’ve been due to the fact that both teams only had one win to their name but it felt more personal. It was as if they were all starting to feed into competitive tension that both their highly touted rookies were oozing with, and competed accordingly.
Heading into the final quarter, the Rockets were trailing 82-79 but after just five minutes of action they found themselves down 100-86; but then they battled back.
Houston ramped up the defensive intensity and was able to stone-wall a Pistons team that had been scorching hot in the quarter, after the next five minutes they found themselves down 103-98 and had a legit shot at winning the game. They got as close as 104-103 but from that point on they ran out of stops which allowed Detroit to grind out a gritty, gritty win.
Houston saw big games from not only Green and Wood but also Kevin Porter Jr who had 18 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists, and Jae-Sean Tate who pitched in 14 points, 8 rebounds, and a ton of defensive intensity.
This loss drops the Rockets to 1-10 and they’ll look to snap out of their losing ways against Damian Lillard and the 5-6 Portland Trail Blazers on Friday, Nov. 12 at 7:00 P.M. CT.