Feb 6, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Rockets center Alperen Sengun (28) looses the ball against Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes (40) in the second quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Light the beam: Three takeaways from Monday’s 140-120 loss to the Kings
Against the NBA’s second-best offense, the Rockets could not get enough stops, as they came up short against the Sacramento Kings on Monday night 140-120. Sacramento eclipsed the 30 points mark in all four quarters, punctuated by a 41-point fourth quarter, shooting 58% for the game while connecting on 21-of-41 3-point attempts. Fourth overall pick in the 2022 draft, Keegan Murray led all scorers with 30 points, while the man picked one spot ahead of him, Jabari Smith Jr., scored 13.
Offense picks up after halftime
The Rockets’ offense was absolutely dreadful in the game’s first 24 minutes. They scored 48 points, but they shot 42% from the field, committed nine turnovers, and trailed by 17 at the break. The only reason the game was that close was Sacramento’s inability to keep the Rockets off the free-throw line. Houston made 14 free throws in the first half and just 16 field goals.
Houston’s offense picked up after the break. The Rockets made their first three shots of the third quarter, and they scored 40 points in the period on 15-of-24 shooting. After making just 2-of-12 3-pointers in the first half, the Rockets made 7-of-10 in the third quarter. They scored 72 points in the second half on 56% shooting; they just couldn’t garner enough stops to dig out of the deep hole they dug themselves in the first half.
Jalen Green catches fire after a slow start
Jalen Green started his second game back from the calf injury that held him out of three games by starting 1-of-7 for two points, but he started to catch fire at the end of the second quarter, draining three of his last four shots, and that carried over into the second half. After finishing with 10 points at halftime, Green scored 14 in the third quarter and 27 for the game.
Green looked like he might’ve been favoring his calf at the start of the game and admitted Monday morning the injury impacted his play in Oklahoma City because he had never dealt with a calf injury before, but he seemed to grow more comfortable as the game progressed.
Alperen Sengun plays with a heavy heart
Sengun played 36 minutes and finished with 15 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists, but basketball was not foremost on his mind. His native Turkey and Syria were rocked by a devastating earthquake on Monday morning that killed more than 4,000 and left more than 15,000 injured.
“The pain we experience is indescribable,” Sengun tweeted Monday morning. “My prayers, my heart is with our citizens who were affected by the earthquake in Kahramanmaraş… R.I.P. to those who lost their lives, I wish a speedy recovery to the injured.”
Sengun is from Giresun, which is on Turkey’s northern coast by the Black Sea, which is the opposite part of the country where the Earthquake caused the most damage, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t feel its impact. He said his family felt it, but they were all safe.
The Rockets and Kings will face off again at Toyota Center on Wednesday night.