HOUSTON — A Sunday afternoon contest between the Houston Rockets and Atlanta Hawks may have been the most meaningless game on the NBA’s calendar to close out the 2021-22 campaign. The Hawks came into the Toyota Center for final preparations ahead of the NBA’s Play-In Tournament. The Rockets came into the game with nothing to lose but lottery ping pong balls.
But similar to the other 81 games of the year, the Rockets played with 100 percent effort. Unfortunately, Houston’s effort in their final game did not result in a victory. The Rockets sustained a 130-114 defeat to the Hawks in their season finale.
For the second consecutive year, the Rockets finished with the league’s worst record at 20-62. This marks the first time in franchise history the Rockets finished the season with 20 wins.
Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr. put on a show against the Hawks after a slow start to the game. Green and Porter scored a combined six points during the first quarter. They finished the day by scoring a combined 61 points in the final three periods.
Green scored a career-high 41 points after finishing with eight Friday night against the Toronto Raptors. His play against the Hawks marked the eighth time in nine games he scored 20 or more points. Green closed out his rookie campaign averaging 31.6 points during his final eight games.
Porter, who played a career-high 61 games in 2022, added 26 points in the loss. Behind their young backcourt, the Rockets battled back from a 19-point deficit. The third quarter is where the Rockets played their best basketball of the game, where they outscored the Hawks 32-29.
Kenyon Martin Jr. provided Houston with their most significant boost off the bench. He led the Rockets’ reserves in scoring with 11 points.
The one issue that plagued the Rockets for all 82 games was their defense. Houston allowed Atlanta to shoot 51.7 percent from the floor and 55.3 percent from deep. All five starters for the Hawks scored in double-figures.
All-Star point guard Trae Young led the way for the Hawks with a double-double of 28 points and 11 assists in the win. Danilo Gallinari added 26 points while connecting on six out of his eight attempts from behind the arc.
After the deal that sent him to Atlanta in February of 2020, Clint Capela played his first game in Houston since the trade. The former Rocket recorded a double-double of 18 points and 13 rebounds in the win against his former team.
With no games remaining in the season, the next important date for the Rockets will fall on Tuesday, May 17th for the NBA Draft Lottery.