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Jalen, Cade shine in Summer League, but Rockets prevail over Pistons

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Jalen Green vs. Cade Cunningham will be a good one throughout the years.

Detroit Pistons v Houston Rockets Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The Houston Rockets shined under the bright Las Vegas lights for the second game in a row to kick off its Summer League campaign with a 111-91 win over the Detroit Pistons.

The Rockets looked impressive the whole night because of their defense and key plays. Although the first quarter was a slow start, the Rockets eventually picked up the intensity in the second quarter to take a small lead into halftime.

In the second half, the lead busted wide open and it eventually parked itself as a 20-point lead for the Rockets when the final buzzer sounded.

Alperen Sengun deserves a ton of credit due to his defense and ability to finish around the rim. He has looked like the steal of draft so far in the Summer League. Sengun has shown great lateral quickness when guarding the opposing player. Mostly in switch situations, as he helped by trapping a player in the corner. His wingspan has looked impressive because it allows him to block shots and cover ground easily.

Sengun proved his versality inside the paint with various post moves and spin moves. His patience inside the paint shows, as he can feel which direction to turn in a post-up opportunity, and create situations for a cutting induvial. Sengun’s IQ has shown in pick-and-roll actions with Jalen Green or Khyri Thomas, as he slipped towards the basket for a lob. So far, Rafael Stone has proved his reason on trading up for Segun at the 16th pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. Will Weaver said:

“He certainly is a problem on the block. He’s got the ability to punish different matchups down there... Best of all, the fact that he’s really committed to improving as a defender.”

Jalen Green had a slow start but still kept his head above water by making the right play and getting to the free throw line multiple times. He read pick-and-roll exceptionally well by finding different players slipping and rolling towards the basket.

“I wasn’t very comfortable early, but I started to figure it out towards the end,” Green said.

Although Green didn’t take a ton of off the dribble shots, he was efficient in catch-and-shoot. Green made shots that the defense gave him instead of forcing shots, as the defense was corned to him all night. Even though Green took five shots, he still had 25 points.

Josh Christopher brought a ton of energy by playing great defense and tough drive byes towards the basket. His communication skills have been impressive by far. He loves telling his teammates their assignments and wherever opposing players are on the court. Christopher is starting to win the respect of the Rockets’ coaching staff.

He uses his strength and speed to drive by his defender and lateral quickness to stay in front of his man. Spectators saw Christopher put clamps on the number one pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, Cade Cunningham. Christopher uses his athleticism as a weapon in his favor.

“I’m 6’5, 215 with a 6’9 wingspan,” Christopher said. “And I play hard and I’m in shape,”

It feels like the energy circles around him, as the crowd cheers him on as he makes multiple plays.


The Rockets are 2-0 in Summer League and will put their perfect record on the line again Thursday when the Toronto Raptors come up to bat. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. CT.