Depending on which side of the fence you fall on, this game was either considered an abject failure or a mission accomplished.
The Houston Rockets lost, once again, this time to the Charlotte Hornets in a game that may or may not impact lottery odds down the road. That depends on if these teams finish with a bottom three record so that’s still to be decided. The 122-117 final was pretty much what one would expect from the league’s bottom-dwellers, full of potential, but otherwise sloppy.
The Hornets were able to capitalize on 19 Rockets’ turnovers that resulted in 26 fast break points for the visitors. Many of those turnovers might as well have been scored as assists for Houston as they continuously broadcasted passing lanes which gave the Hornets too many easy opportunities.
However, there were some bright spots for Houston! Jalen Green tied his career high of 41 points and did it while shooting efficiently on high-volume. 23 of those came in the first half as he and Alperen Şengün looked like a promising duo. Şengün finished with 24 points - 12 rebounds - 6 assists and gave more fuel to those, myself included, clamoring for the offense to be run through him.
Jabari Smith Jr.’s night (8 points and 5 rebounds in 23 minutes) was cut short after he came down awkwardly on his ankle in the third quarter. This happened just moments after LaMelo Ball succumbed to yet another ankle injury. I guess I’m adding insult to injury, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Ball had a rough night entirely as he only shot 4-for-16 from the field.
Terry Rozier led the way for Charlotte with 26 points and Mark Williams had a big night as he scored 17 and chipped in 5 blocks. It was kind of a bummer seeing Williams ball on the Rockets tonight because he was one of the players I had my eye on for the Rockets’ second pick during this past draft. Of course that pick turned into Tari Eason, which I’m thankful for, but I also think that Williams could have developed into an ideal big to supplement what Şengün gives us.
Ah, oh well.
While the numbers don’t always show it, I’m glad to have Jae’Sean Tate back in the fold. The team just seems more competent when he’s out there and that was apparent with his team-leading +14 plus/minus.
I also didn’t hate what I saw out there from Josh Christopher tonight. Yes he did have a couple of turnovers, but as far as his shot selection goes, he didn’t force too much and he made his living going 4-for-5 in the lane.
Had the Rockets played more aggressively on the defensive end when they were making a fake comeback in the final minutes it’s not improbable that they would have won.
When will the streak end? Your guess is as good as mine.
Come hang out with us again this Saturday 1/21 as Houston begins a home-and-home with the Minnesota Timberwolves!