12 bad minutes: Three takeaways from Wednesday’s 108-103 loss to the Wizards

Jan 25, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Rockets forward Kenyon Martin Jr. (6) is fouled by Washington Wizards guard Delon Wright (55) in the first quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

12 bad minutes: Three takeaways from Wednesday’s 108-103 loss to the Wizards

The Rockets did not trail for the first three quarter only to fall apart in the fourth, as they lost to the Washington Wizards 108-103. The Rockets were outscored 37-22 in the game’s final 12 minutes, with Kyle Kuzma accounting for 20 points in the period, giving him 33 for the game. Bradley Beal added 17, with 8 coming in the fourth quarter. Alperen Sengun led the Rockets with 21 points, and Jalen Green added 19, but he shot just 6-of-19 from the field, and as a team, Houston connected on just 5-of-28 three-point attempts, while finishing with 14 turnovers, which led to 23 Washington points.

Fourth quarter collapse

The Rockets started the fourth quarter with an 81-71 lead but in the blink of an eye, the advantage was gone. The Rockets started the quarter 1-of-9 with Alperen Sengun and Jalen Green on the bench, and they could do nothing to stop the Wizards momentum when they re-entered the game. Washington started the quarter on a 23-4 run in a little more than five minutes, and as a team, the Rockets finished the quarter shooting 31 percent from the field and while connecting on just 1-of-13 three-pointers.

“Late third quarter we got away from the things that are about winning, about building winning habits, about taking the right shot, about making the right pass, and we gotta be better than that,” Rockets head coach Stephen Silas said. “Whatever young, inexperienced and all that. We gotta be better.”

Alperen Sengun dominates again

Somewhere buried deep in the NBA rule book it states you must play well on your bobblehead night, and Sengun followed that order to a T, finishing with 21 points on 10-of-16 shooting, 11 rebounds, 10 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks for his second triple-double of the season.

Wednesday’s game continued a strong run for the Rockets’ second year center. Over his last eight games, Sengun is averaging 19.6 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 7.4 assists.

Jabari Smith Jr returns

The Rockets rookie forward returned to the lineup after missing the last two games with a sprained right ankle. Smith looked a little rusty in his 29 minutes, scoring 6 points on just 2-of-10 shooting, but he did impact the game in other ways by pulling down 7 rebounds and blocking a shot.

Next up

The Rockets will conclude their three-game homestand when they take on the Cleveland Cavaliers Thursday night.

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