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Rockets effort falls short in Indiana 118-106

The Non-Festive Road Trip Continues

Houston Rockets v Indiana Pacers
Return of the Green
Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images

It’s hard to know what to make of this. The Rockets have now played 7 of their last 8 games on the road. The last home game was the second night of a back to back where they flew back from Cleveland to play a fairly desperate New York Knicks team, before heading back out on the road again. They’ve played these 7 of 8 road games in 13 nights. All this to say, another road loss isn’t that surprising. Many teams, better teams, would struggle with such a blitz of road games.

Fortunately the Rockets don’t play again until they play in Charlotte on the 27th. So they’ll get Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and part of Boxing Day at home. Unless of course they need to fill in for COVID stricken teams on Christmas Day. Something no one really wants to see, particularly the Rockets, who clearly need some rest. e’ve seen their legs dessert them in the last two games, over the last two nights.

What the Rockets did get on the positive side of the ledger tonight was the return of Jalen Green, after almost exactly a month lost to injury. Green, honestly, looked both pretty good tonight, and like a rookie who’d missed a month to injury. His 3pt shot was definitely on tonight, with him going 6-9 on 3pt attempts, and 7-14 overall, as the other shots weren’t as convincing. That said, it was a pretty nice 25 minute outing (as Green is on a minutes restriction as he works his way back into form).

Unfortunately, a solid overall Rockets effort, that saw them leading after three quarters fell apart in the fourth as their legs deserted them, and Indiana switched to a zone. Indiana’s Rick Carlisle credits the zone defense with the Pacers’ win, but I’ll personally vote “Exhaustion”.

Also tonight was perhaps the best Myle Turner performance of all time, as he scored 32pts on 14-18 shooting, grabbed 10 rebounds and generally bossed Christian Wood. If Eric Gordon is auditioning for a trade, so is Myles Turner, and not coincidentally, Caris Levert, who almost recorded a great triple double with 24pts, 11 assists, 8 rebounds, and 3 steals. He’s obviously bitter at the Rockets for not keeping him around for a painful rebuild after his trade from Brooklyn.

The aforementioned Eric Gordon continues to put together a great audition reel. If teams need a bench scorer/6th man/plausible starter they could do a lot worse than Gordon, who scored 15pts on 6-10 shooting with 5 assists and 3 steals.

Alperen Sengun had nice looking stats, and some good moments, but in my estimation is struggling a bit with the competition, and also, pace of the NBA at the moment. It’s not that he can’t do well, he can, in fact he’s excellent in short doses. Next stop is about 30 minutes a game. It’s not a long term concern, but it does appear to be happening on this long road trip.

Sorry for the late recap! Holiday plans manifested differently than expected, and then preparations needed to be made for the impending Snowpocalypse.

I wish all of you happy holidays, Merry Christmas, and joyous post-solstice.


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