• Brian L. Barefield

Rockets Defeat The Wizards In First Preseason Win

Photo Credit/Houston Rockets

Basketball is back in Houston!

Ok. Wait. Before you get too excited, technically, it is not back just yet because the regular season has not started, but basketball was played on Tuesday night at the Toyota Center as the Houston Rockets defeated the Washington Wizards by a score of 125-119.

“It was awesome,” said Rockets head coach Stephen Silas about the atmosphere inside the stadium as the NBA is allowing teams to go back to full capacity. “It was great to have fans on the floor and next to the bench. I didn’t realize, last year how different it was as a head coach by not having fans in the stands. Even though it was a preseason game, it was great to have the fans back.

Those fans in attendance got a chance to see the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft Jalen Green who didn’t have a stellar preseason debut but showed flashes of what is to come for the next couple of years in Houston.

Green, 19, finished the game with 12 points and six rebounds in 27 minutes of action. Although he missed all six three-pointers he attempted, he was pleased with his effort against Washington.

Photo Credit/Houston Rockets

“It was fun and exciting,” Green said during his postgame press conference. “I felt I could have shot the ball a little better. It was my first game, so I have to get the feeling for things again, but yes, I think it was good.”

One player who had a great night on the offensive end was point guard Kevin Porter Jr. who takes over the position as the team figures out a way to help John Wall find a new place to play. Porter was electrifying, finishing the game with a game-high 25 points while shooting 5-of-10 from 3-point range.

“Tempo wise, I felt like I pushed the pace so our guys could get out and get quick and easy buckets,” Porter responded when asked about the pace of the game while he was on the court. “Our transition offense last year was our weak spot, so we have been focusing on that a lot.”

Houston fell behind Washington late in the fourth quarter trailing the Wizards 103-95 with just under eight minutes left in the game, but they closed the gap with an 11-4 run lead by backup shooting guard Josh Christopher who hit three consecutive three-pointers in that span. The Rockets tied the game at 111 when rookie Usman Garuba hit a 24-foot corner three at the 4:30 mark, and Houston would make another 14-8 run to end the game.

“I loved how they played,” said coach Silas of the last group to enter the game.

The Rockets will be back in action on Thursday as they take on the Miami Heat at Toyota Center in a nationally televised game on ESPN.

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