Dec 17, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Rockets head coach Stephen Silas (right) speaks to referee Justin Van Duyne (64) after a technical foul was given to Houston Rockets forward Jabari Smith Jr. (1, not shown) during the first quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports
Despite shooting 1-of-17 from behind the 3-point line in the first half, the Rockets trailed the Blazers by only six at halftime, but the Rockets’ offense only got worse from there as the team shot 27% in the third quarter to go with six turnovers, helping the Blazers balloon their lead to 22 points. Houston finished the night shooting 41% from the field, 3-of-29 from behind the 3-point line. The Rockets have followed up their five-game home winning streak by losing back-to-back contests. Here are three takeaways from tonight’s loss.
Both backup point guards get minutes
TyTy Washington played well while getting rotation minutes for the first time on Thursday night, and he was the first guard off the Rockets’ bench against the Blazers. He shared the floor with Jalen Green and finished with two points and one rebound in five minutes. He showed an ability to play without the basketball by cutting through the lane and receiving a pass from Usman Garuba for a 7-foot floater, and then he found an opening in the Blazers’ defense for a wide-open corner 3.
After missing the game against Miami due to an illness, Daishen Nix checked in with 8:34 left in the second quarter, also playing five minutes and finishing with four points and two rebounds. They both played in the second half and shared the floor at the start of the fourth quarter.
Offensive rebounding covers up a lot of flaws
The Rockets entered Saturday’s game as the NBA’s best offensive-rebounding team, securing 35% of their misses for 17.5 second-chance points. Against the Blazers, the Rockets shot the ball poorly, but still found themselves in the game, at least for a half. They finished the first quarter with eight offensive rebounds on 15 missed shots, and their 14 first-half second-chance points covered up 40% shooting from the field and 1-of-18 from behind the 3-point line and only had them down by only six at the break.
That didn’t carry over into the second half, as the Rockets continued to shoot poorly, but the Blazers cleaned things up on the glass. Houston shot just 4-of-15 from the field in the third quarter but had zero second-chance points, allowing Portland to take control of the game with a 28-14 period.
Jalen Green’s struggling shot
The entire team shot poorly, but it continues a pattern for Green, who missed all six of his 3-point attempts. His sixth and final miss came at the second-quarter buzzer, and he was the first Rocket out of the locker room after halftime, and he went directly to the 3-point line to get up shots, but he did not fire any off the rest of the night.
“I just feel like it’s my legs,” Green said. “Today, I had open looks; they just didn’t drop. I feel like I hit the front of the rim on each shot, but it’s all part of the game.”
Green is shooting 17.8% (11-for-61) from behind the 3-point line over his last 10 games, but he is still attacking the rim and getting to the free-throw line. He attempted nine shots from the charity stripe on Saturday, giving him 73 over the same 10-game stretch.
“You’re gonna have your slumps, it’s just a matter of if you’re gonna get out of it and keep your same mindset and keep going.”
The Rockets will play the fifth game of their season-long seven-game homestand on Monday night when Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs visit Toyota Center.