They finally won a game. For the first time in 2023 the Houston Rockets can leave the arena as the victorious team. The 119-114 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves breaks the nasty 13 game skid that has brought upon injuries, scuffles, voicing of frustrations and endless speculation of the future of the organization.
Of course this win doesn't mean that the speculation will or should stop, but it sure makes for a better night of sleep, at least for tonight.
As for what happened in the game, where should we start?
Jalen Green certainly answered the call after a lackluster performance in Minnesota the other day. He exploded for a new career high, 42 points on 15-for-25 from the field, including six threes. What’s even more impressive is that he only turned the ball over once and it was truly exhilarating seeing him closeout the game like a superstar in the making.
His timely shot-making was needed as Anthony Edwards and the T-Wolves didn’t give up until the end. This was a performance all Rockets’ fans needed to see from Green as he got the best of Edwards this time around.
I personally am invested in a potential long-term friendly rivalry between these two guys because while their physique isn’t necessarily the same, their combined athleticism makes for must-watch television.
I was late to find out that Rudy Gobert was available tonight so I had keyed in on Alperen Şengün exploiting Minny’s lack of depth prior to the game. Fortunately, even with Gobert out there, he did it anyways. Alpy went for 21/7/7 as he mixed in a barrage of jump hooks and push shots to keep Gobert and Naz Reid at bay. It’s become abundantly clear that he is a legitimate starter in this league as he’s averaging nearly 18/10/6/1/1 in 11 games since the turn of the New Year.
With all that being said, I think it’s super important to highlight how awesome Tari Eason was in this game. He brought the intensity from start to finish in his own unique way. His 11/9/3/4/2 game was ideal for a player off his ilk. If he can replicate something along those lines going forward, there’s no reason he shouldn’t be able to become that Iguodala type of glue guy for this team.
While the win is worth celebrating, it would be negligent to not mention the miscues. Houston jumped out to an early double-digit lead, but still saw the score tied up at halftime in large part to allowing D’Angelo Russell to get off.
Then again in the fourth quarter after entering with a nine point lead, Houston committed multiple turnovers in a row that allowed Minnesota to get it within one score. 23 turnovers will never not be an issue.
Nevertheless, I can’t hate on the result as the team managed to hold on in the end. Some timely plays sprinkled in from Kenyon Martin Jr. (6/7/2/3), Eric Gordon (14/4/4) and Jae’Sean Tate (10/3) helped supplement the great nights from Green, Şengün and Eason.
As far as Rockets’ wins in recent years go, I’d rank this as a solid 8/10. I’m not sure if this says more about me and my level of content or the team itself.