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Rockets lose usefully to Kings 121-118

Green, Porter looking very good.

Hello, Future.
Photo by Logan Riely/NBAE via Getty Images

Tonight the Rockets fell 121-118 to the similarly sad, but differently aspected, Sacramento Kings. The Rockets are, despite appearances, probably on the rise. The Kings are mired in nearly two decades of whatever this is. It’s hard to feel anything but bad for Kings fan, stuck in this fetid swamp of drowned hopes and expectations.

Tonight they won a game they’d just as soon lost. The Rockets lost a game they quite possibly could have won, with slightly more effort, or organization.

It’s hard to say there was any coherent defense played (especially with the Rockets surrendering a 44pt 2nd quarter to the Kings) and there wasn’t much in the way of slick, or even slightly slippery, NBA offense. There was a lot of clever one-on-one play, and some spectacular dunks (I think if nothing else, Jalen Green should be considered the NBA’s finest in-game dunker, at this point).

The Kings will receive a coveted Dreamshake Rampaging Rando award tonight, an honor they no doubt deeply appreciate, as Damian Jones notched a career-high in points tonight at 24. He also had 9 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 blocks. Congratulations Damian, a Rando is You!

The Rockets saw some pretty good performances as well.

Not-A-Point-Guard Kevin Porter Jr had a Peak Harden-esque performance with 30 points on 11-17 shooting, 12 rebounds, and 12 assists, against only 3 turnovers. That’s really nice. Yes, it was against the Kings, but how many of the NBA’s legends were partly built on big nights against bad teams? (Hint - a lot of them.)

So that means, by the usual rule, that Jalen Green had a bad night, right? Au contraire, mes amis! Green had a good scoring night, mostly punctuated by some amazing dunks. 32pts on 11-25 shooting, and 2 rebounds and 2 assists. Not as gaudy a night as Porter Jr, but not shabby at all. If you’ve spent the season shorting Jalen Green shares, I’d suggest this may be about your last good chance to cover.

Bruno Fernando continues to show he’s a raw, but powerful, force in the paint, scoring 17, and grabbing 10 rebounds in 22 minutes of basketball. I’d like for him to stick around, if as nothing else, a guy who doesn’t mind mixing it up, which the Rockets are short of, compared to past teams. He’s only 23, which suggests there could be some growth left to his game with proper instruction and minutes.

Anyhow, the Rockets did the needful to keep “pace” with the Thunder and Magic, who both lost as well tonight. The odds remain largely in place, though I won’t miss the day when that isn’t a consideration. It might be as soon as next season.


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