Double-digits: Three takeaways from Tuesday’s 133-112 loss to the Nuggets

Feb 28, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Rockets guard Jalen Green (4) drives with the ball as Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) defends during the first quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Double-digits: Three takeaways from Tuesday’s 133-112 loss to the Nuggets

The Rockets’ losing streak has reached 10 after Tuesday’s 133-112 loss to the Nuggets. Denver never trailed in the game, built up a 17-point lead in the first quarter and led by as many as as 26. Jalen Green and Tari Eason led the Rockets with 17 as Green returned to the floor for the first time in 13 days, but the Rockets played without Kevin Porter Jr. for a 20th straight game.

A mismatch at one end of the floor

A game played between the league’s second-best offense and second-worst defense went about as you would expect. The Nuggets shot 65% on their way to a 41-point first quarter, and they finished with 133 points on 58% shooting, and only 11 points came from the free throw line. Denver ran its offense brilliantly on Tuesday night. The Nuggets got all the shots they wanted and finished with 40 assists on 53 made field goals and they turned 13 Rockets turnovers into 21 points.

Jamal Murray scored 16 points in the first half and finished with 32 on 12-of-18 shooting. Nikola Jokic finished with his 24th triple-double of the season.

Jalen Green plays well in his return

Green returned after missing the last two games with a groin strain he suffered right before the All-Star Break and played well while on a minutes restriction. Green scored 17 points and dished out five assists in 19 minutes while connecting on 3-of-7 from behind the 3-point line. Because of the break, Green had 13 days in between games and looked energized after the layoff.

The Rockets guard played his best basketball after the All-Star Break last season, averaging 22 points per game on 48% shooting, and the team hopes he can put together a similar run over the final 22 games of this season to springboard him into what will be a big third NBA season.

A good night for the bench

The Rockets starters dug themselves an early 17-point hole, but the bench unit of Tari Eason, Josh Christopher, and TyTy Washington picked up some of the slack and helped get the Rockets back into the game in the second quarter. Those three players combined for 38 points while shooting 17-of-31 from the field.

Eason led the way with 17 points and 12 rebounds, six on the offensive end of the floor, and Washington added 12 points and five assists while Christopher chipped in 11 points. That group played hard, and all three have lifted their level of play of late, which is especially impressive from Eason and Washington, who are now 61 games into their rookie seasons.

Next up

The Rockets will play the second game of a back-to-back on Wednesday when the Memphis Grizzlies visit the Toyota Center.

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