The Houston Rockets took on the San Antonio Spurs as they looked to extend the Spurs losing streak to 17 games which would set a franchise record for most losses in a row. The Rockets fresh off their first road win of the season
Rockets welcome back Amen Thompson to the lineup as they try to incorporate him back into the rotation. Tari Eason was questionable but he was cleared to play. Before the game Coach Udoka spoke about the return of Thompson and Alperen Sengun's versatility on defense.
Coach Udoka spoke about the benefit of having a versatile defender like Alperen Sengun.— Lachard Binkley (@BinkleyHoops) December 11, 2023
That shows you how far he has come on that side of the ball
“Having Alperen being a cerebral guy you can put him on different guys and he can figure it out”
Full interview here… pic.twitter.com/3RjWu3k2dm
Rockets started the game slow missing their first eight shots. The Rockets finally got on the board after a Fred VanVleet three pointer. Despite the three the Rockets still struggled from the field as they went 3-13 in the first five minutes. Spurs held an early 10-7 lead.
With Victor Wembanyama moved over to the center spot he gave Sengun trouble in the paint early as Sengun started 1-4. Neither team was exactly lighting it up as neither team had reached 14 points 11 minutes into the quarter. The Spurs bench would come in and give them a lift as they finished the quarter with a 21-19 lead. The Rockets shot an abysmal 6-26 from the field.
The Spurs weren't much better as they shot 8-22 from the floor but did get a quick five points from Cedi Osman off the bench. Sdngun finished 1-6 in the quarter as the Rockets could not get anything going in the paint.
Amen Thompson made his first as he checked in to start the second quarter. Rockets started to take control in the second quarter as the shots started to fall. Jeff Green was great off the bench scoring 10 points in only eight first-half minutes and Thompson was able to get his first basket in several weeks. The game however continued at a snail's pace as neither team could get any type of offense going. The Rockets led at the half 51 to 47 despite the off night from the field.
The third quarter didn't offer much different results on the offensive end and actually, it was the lowest scoring quarter for both teams as the Rockets could only manage 18 points in the quarter but still won the third quarter by three points.
In the fourth, the Rockets finally took control of the game as Tari Eason came in and took over. Eason scored 14 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter as the Rockets started to pull away. The Rocket would go on to beat the Spurs 93-82 as they handed their I-10 rivals their 17 straight loss in a row which is the longest losing streak in franchise history.
The 93 points the Rockets scored in the win is their lowest win total since October 30th, 2016 when they beat the Mavs 93-92. That shows how improved the Rockets defense has been this season, especially at home where they are 10-1 and have won 10 straight.
After the game Coach Udoka spoke about Sengun's calming presence on offense even when the team is struggling.
Here is more from Ime on Sengun being “the calming presence” on the offensive end pic.twitter.com/ypAdU22Hg0— Lachard Binkley (@BinkleyHoops) December 12, 2023
He also spoke about continuing to feed Sengun the ball despite the slow start to the game.
Coach Udoka never lost confidence in Sengun.— Lachard Binkley (@BinkleyHoops) December 12, 2023
“Talked to him at halftime about getting him so more touches” pic.twitter.com/QRWIEBUNrW
Sengun and Tari both talked about their nicknames for each other which led to these funny reactions.
Alperen Sengun said his nickname for Tari Eason is “Gloves” pic.twitter.com/u8cKP552EW— Lachard Binkley (@BinkleyHoops) December 12, 2023
I asked Tari what he felt about the nickname Sengun gave him.— Lachard Binkley (@BinkleyHoops) December 12, 2023
“I’m not going to lie to you I had no idea what he was saying” “Gloves that’s alright I mess with it. He’s the wizard I’m gloves” pic.twitter.com/vz6zVXdURT
As you can see winning brings a lot more smiles after a game and this season the Rockets especially at home have been smiling a lot.
Make sure to check out all of the post-game interviews on the Rockets Fuel Podcast YouTube page.