A dozen losses: Three takeaways from Wednesday’s 122-117 loss to the Hornets

Jan 18, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Rockets guard Jalen Green (4) shoots the ball as Charlotte Hornets forward Jalen McDaniels (6) defends during the first quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

A dozen losses: Three takeaways from Wednesday’s 122-117 loss to the Hornets

The Rockets now own the NBA’s longest losing streak this season after falling to the Hornets 122-117 on Wednesday night, for their 12th straight loss. The Rockets led by seven at halftime, but as has been the case for the last week, they fell apart after the break, with the Hornets outscoring them 69-57. Jalen Green led all scorers with 41 points, but the Rockets, already playing without Kevin Porter Jr due to a sore left big toe, lost Jabari Smith Jr in the third quarter after he sprained his right ankle.

Third quarter is the difference

The Rockets shot 56.5 percent during a 60-point first half, but as has been the case far too often, the offense disappeared after halftime and so did a seven-point lead. A Terry Rozier technical foul gave the Rockets a free point to start the third quarter, but their first two possessions ended in Alperen Sengun turnovers, and within 90 seconds Charlotte tied the game.

“I thought the the way that we started the third quarter, right after halftime, I was disappointed with that,” Rockets head coach Stephen Silas said. “The ball kind of stuck a little bit and we missed a few shots, put our heads down.”

The Rockets scored the final six points of the third quarter to take a one-point lead into the fourth, but before that burst the Hornets limited them to 18 points on 6-of-20 with seven turnovers.

Jalen Green and Alperen Sengun get very little help

Alperen Sengun and Jalen Green built on strong performances on Monday night, combining for 52 points on 22-of-24 shooting, but the Rockets got very little offense from anyone else. Green made 10 of his first 11 shots and led everyone with 23 points at halftime and 41 for the game, while Sengun followed his career night against the Lakers with 24 points and 12 rebounds on 10-of-16 shooting.

Problem for the Rockets is that no one else scored more than 11 points, and only K.J. Martin and Eric Gordon scored in double figures. They needed others to step up with Kevin Porter Jr out for a third straight and Jabari Smith Jr leaving in the third quarter, but the help never came.

Stephen Silas responds to John Wall

The Rockets head coach responded to comments the former Rockets guard made on the Run Your Race Podcast, ripping the organization for how they handled his situation.

“What John Wall went through here, and the situation that happened, was unprecedented,” Silas said before Wednesday’s game. “There was gonna be no easy way for it to go down. There’s gonna be no happiness on either side. We tried to make it as good as possible for him as an organization. Obviously, the organization decided that the rebuild was going to be underway and talked to John about it. I had multiple conversations with John about it and came to the conclusion that him not playing would be the solution.” 

Wall called his time with the Rockets “beyond trash” and criticized the way they have handled young guards Kevin Porter Jr and Jalen Green.

“the (explitive) y’all getting away with over here, if you go to any other team, you’d be out of the league. You wouldn’t play,” Wall said he told both players.

Silas responded by saying the Rockets are in a unique situation with two young guards in their starting lineup, and he explained how holds both accountable.

“Some of it is learning from mistakes, learning through adversity, learning from film sessions. It’s important for me to lay out what the expectations are, but to expect young kids not to make mistakes is unrealistic, so I get that there will be mistakes made, and there has to be patience that goes along with that, and accountability is a big part of that. When you’re 19, 20, 21, there’s going to be times where it’s disjointed. There’s going to be times where there’s mistakes made, and the way that I do it, is I teach from those moments, and that’s how I do it.”

Next up

The Rockets will hit the road for one game when they take on the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday night.

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