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Third quarter surge pushes Rockets to 112-101 victory over Nets

Houston moves to 17-15 behind Alperen Sengun’s 30-piece.

Brooklyn Nets v Houston Rockets Photo by Logan Riely/NBAE via Getty Images

The Houston Rockets handled business on Wednesday night with a 112-101 decision over the Brooklyn Nets. Aided by a strong shooting night on the perimeter, Houston was also able to hold the Nets to under 40 percent from the field.

Alperen Sengun once again demonstrated that he is worthy of all-star consideration with a dominant 30 point 8 rebound and 4 assist game. By luring both Brooklyn bigs — Nic Claxton and Day’Ron Sharpe — into foul trouble, Sengun was able to establish that he could get just about any shot he wanted.

It wasn't just a strong showing from Alpy as Fred VanVleet also set the tone with 21 points and 10 assists while connecting on six of his eight treys. Jae’Sean Tate filled in once more for the injured Dillon Brooks, and while his numbers don’t leap off the stat sheet, he provided a solid defensive presence and played virtually mistake-free basketball.

While Jabari Smith Jr. and Jalen Green didn’t light up the scoreboard either, I felt comfortable with the shots they took tonight. A combined 21 points on 7-of-23 from the field, I maintain an optimistic belief that those will fall if they keep taking the open looks afforded to them.

This game was pretty much on equal footing going into halftime, but a switch turned coming out of the break. The most obvious change to point to is that the Rockets stopped turning the ball over. Considering that the Nets are ranked last in the league in generating turnovers, it was super infuriating to watch the Rockets have a nine-turnover second quarter which ultimately kept this game closer than it should have been.

However, the Rockets nipped the turnover bug in the third and it led to a 38-point explosion. Watching from home, it became pretty clear that the Nets wouldn’t be able to overcome this as the Rockets went on a 15-1 run, especially with their shooting woes coming on the second night of a back-to-back. It became a lock that this one was over when Houston splashed home three consecutive from downtown during the fourth quarter to extend the lead to 18.

The Nets failed to operate an efficient offense tonight as a lot of their shots came rushed. Led by Cam Johnson and Mikal Bridges, nobody surpassed 15 points on their side. Not even their human microwave, Cam Thomas, could get it going as he is now 0-18 over his past two games.

In other developments, the Rockets received welcomed contributions from both of their rookies tonight. Amen Thompson rode the momentum from his best game on Monday against the Detroit Piston en route to 10 points and 6 rebounds. Cam Whitmore also got a decent amount of run, collecting 11 points and three three-pointers. It felt rewarding to see them both be able to step in and see how the game has slowed down for them.

The absences of Brooks and Tari Eason would have loomed larger on most nights, but tonight’s play from both rookies helped ease those scratches. Even more delightful is the fact that they played well into the fourth quarter, gaining valuable experience with each passing minute.

Each additional minute they get out there is increasingly important as strong play from them will likely be required if the Rockets hope to knock off the best in the west when the Minnesota Timberwolves visit on Friday. That game is looking like it will be a fun one so we hope to see you here!