It’s a shame that the Houston Rockets play basketball instead of horseshoes.
Maybe they’d win some of the close games they’ve dropped over the course of a franchise-tying 17th consecutive loss, including Tuesday night’s game against the Hawks by a score of 119-107.
The score might not indicate it, but this game was close compared to most of the games that we’ve seen in this losing streak, which is now at Day 40.
It certainly felt like a rerun when the Rockets found themselves down 23 early in the first half, but the Rockets found a way to stay in the ball game. They began to chip away, especially when they started hitting their threes. The team shot 38.2% from the three-point line and saw positive shooting outputs from Jae’Sean Tate, Sterling Brown and Victor Oladipo, who had one of his better games as a Rocket.
Vic scored a game-high 34 points shooting 13-20 from the floor. Chances are, he doesn’t have many games left with the Rockets considering the Trade Deadline is just eight or so days away, so it’s nice to see him playing well and stretching his value as much as he can.
Outside of Oladipo and Sterling Brown, nobody that took the floor for the Rockets has played a full NBA season. It’s hard to win games when you don’t have a lot of experience, but some of these “inexperienced” guys shined tonight.
Kevin Porter Jr. scored 22 points and flashed some playmaker abilities with eight assists. He did struggle from the three-point line though, making just two of his nine shots. KPJ shot 32% from three in the bubble, but he’s capable of making these shots. It’s the one thing he needs to elevate in his game before he becomes a bona fide star in this league. He’s certainly on that trajectory if he improves his outside shot.
Jae’Sean Tate also had a monster game, scoring a career-high 25 points to go with six boards and six dimes. Tate’s scoring was high tonight because he was making his threes. When he makes his threes, he forces defenders to guard him with more attention on the perimeter. That opens drives up for him, which leads to easy shots in the paint. It’s exactly what the Rockets are looking for and Tate fits the build so well.
Kenyon Martin Jr. also got to flex his athleticism tonight. The box score numbers weren’t too kind (just 7 points in 34 minutes) but he had some amazing highlights, including this emphatic slam.
This also lead to a nice little Twitter interaction with KJ’s father, former #1 overall pick Kenyon Martin Sr.
You are more welcome LOL— Kenyon Martin Sr. (@KenyonMartinSr) March 17, 2021
We could probably use a Martin-Martin father-son duo on the court together right now. But what would be even better is a KJ-Christian Wood pairing, which could happen as early as tomorrow against the Warriors. Wood was ruled out just a few hours before tipoff, but there’s a chance he plays tomorrow against the Warriors or Friday against the Pistons.