Houston Rockets fans...welcome back to the win column! It took two dozen three pointers and an equally rough night on the turnover spectrum to get there, but the Rockets were able to hold on against the Orlando Magic tonight with a fortune of offense.
Houston connected on 24-48 from behind the arc, doubling up their Orlando counterparts who just aren’t quite equipped to get into a three point shootout.
Jalen Green led the way with 34 on 12-18 from the floor (5-11 3PT) as he dazzled with his quickness and created a couple of and-1 opportunities for himself. He wasn't short on help as everyone that touched the court not named Alperen Sengun contributed from three.
Coach Silas has to be ecstatic that his bench supported the starters with a 10-16 3PT performance. Also, it’s worth noting once again how impactful the trio of Usman Garuba, Tari Eason and Kenyon Martin Jr. are once they enter the game. The amount of dawg in the team just goes up tenfold.
Eric Gordon (19 on 5-8 3PT), Sengun (20 points 10 rebounds 4 artists) and Kevin Porter Jr. ( 17 points 8 rebounds 11 assists) helped carry the offensive load along with KJ off the bench (21 on 4-8 3PT).
Perhaps the Paolo Banchero (30 points) and Jabari Smith Jr. matchup was overhyped this time around as we didn't see too much of the latter. It would have been nice to see more out of Smith Jr., especially against someone from his draft class, but it’s worth noting he’s likely still facing symptoms from the illness and ankle injury that kept him out of the previous game. There’s no need to panic people.
Now for the not so great stuff...
22 turnovers. Despite Houston hitting an exorbitant amount of threes, the Magic were able to linger around, even when they fell down as much as 17 in the fourth quarter. Luckily for the Rockets, Orlando didn’t fare too much better in that department, and that allowed Houston to hold them off.
The sloppiness should have been expected for two teams that now find themselves 2-9, but who knows how large of a blowout this could have turned into had Houston been more responsible with the rock.
Backing up to Banchero, he is a helluva rookie and that was shown by him controlling the whistle with 14 trips to the free throw line. Daydreaming about him in Houston won’t do anything for us now, but I did still want to acknowledge that he is officially official.
While today wasn’t a perfect game for Houston, they should take solace in getting the win and breaking out of a six-game losing streak. They beat a team who is in a similar stage as them in the rebuilding process and that probably gives them something to be motivated about.
The Rockets will be off tomorrow as the NBA is encouraging you to get out and VOTE tomorrow if you haven’t already. Catch us for the next game this Wednesday 11/9 as the Rockets go through customs to take on the Toronto Raptors!