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Rockets’ young backcourt shines in a tough loss to the Spurs

Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr. scored a combined 56 points, as the Houston Rockets sustained a disappointing loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

San Antonio Spurs v Houston Rockets Photo by Logan Riely/NBAE via Getty Images

HOUSTON — Stephen Silas isn’t worried about the Houston Rockets’ draft position. The development of his young players is the lone objective on Silas’ mind as the 2021-22 campaign comes to a close.

Monday night, Silas watched from the sidelines as Jalen Green had one of the finest performances of his young career. Green scored a team-high 30 points against the San Antonio Spurs. But his on-court production wasn’t enough as the Rockets sustained a 123-120 loss to the Spurs inside the Toyota Center.

The Rockets’ two-game win streak came to an end with the loss. Houston now holds a record of 20-56 on the season.

Green’s best moments of the game took place during the first half. He scored 15 points in the first two periods, which included a one-hand dunk over the top of Spurs’ big man Jakob Poeltl.

Kevin Porter Jr. was the only player who came close to matching Green’s aggressiveness on the offensive side of the ball. Porter scored 26 on the night, as 15 came in the first half alone.

Green and Porter scored a combined 30 first-half points. But the Rockets still trailed the Spurs 67-55 at halftime.

The absence of Eric Gordon and Christian Wood spoiled the Rockets’ chances of stealing a late-season victory against their southwest division rival. The Rockets ruled Wood out due to a hamstring injury, while right groin soreness forced Gordon to miss his 18th game of the season. The Rockets are now 1-17 when Gordon is out of the lineup.

Alperen Sengun started at the center position in place of Wood. After a career night in a win against the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday, Sengun scored 12 points and pulled down seven rebounds in the loss against the Spurs.

Dennis Schroder missed the game against the Spurs due to a shoulder injury, but Josh Christopher picked up the slack for the second unit. He scored 20 points off the bench and knocked down a huge triple that brought Houston within one with 9.6 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

The Spurs kept their post-season hopes alive with the win over the Rockets. San Antonio is now a half-game back of the Los Angeles Lakers for the No. 10 seed in the western conference.

First-time All-Star point guard Dejounte Murray led the way for the Spurs with 33 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds. But it wasn’t a one-man show for the Spurs. San Antonio had four additional players who scored in double figures.

Keldon Johnson contributed to the Spurs’ victory with 21 points, while Poeltl added 17 in the win. The Spurs won the four-game regular-season series 3-1 against the Rockets.

Up next for the Rockets, a western conference game against the 27-49 Sacramento Kings on Wednesday. Tip-off is slated for 7 P.M. CT inside the Toyota Center.