Skid over: Three takeaways from Monday’s 133-118 win over the Bulls

Dec 26, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Houston Rockets guard Jalen Green (4) reacts after scoring against the Chicago Bulls during the first half at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Skid over: Three takeaways from Monday’s 133-118 win over the Bulls

The Rockets secured just their fourth road win of the season by beating the Bulls 133-118, ending a five-game losing streak. The Rockets opened the game on a 23-5 run but saw their lead disappear as the Bulls uncharacteristically hit seven 3-pointers in the second quarter, but reclaimed the lead with a 30-9 extended run in the third quarter. Kevin Porter Jr. finished with a season-high 36 points and nine assists.

Alperen Sengun’s best game

With his father in attendance, Alperen Sengun played his best game of the season and maybe the best game of his young NBA career, finishing with 25 points on 10-of-12 shooting, 11 rebounds, and six assists. He was in complete control on the offensive end of the floor, beating the Bulls from every spot on the floor. He even made a 3-pointer, just his fifth make of the season from deep.

Jalen Green’s shot returns

Green shot just 20% from behind the 3-point line in the 13 games before Monday, and not only was he not making them, he was hesitating to even shoot them, but that changed against the Bulls. Green made 6-of-10 from long distance, matching a season-high, as part of a 24-point game, and he came out firing, as his first two shots came from deep within the game’s first two minutes.

The Rockets guard said last week his shot had gotten flat, and he spent time in the gym with lead assistant John Lucas trying to get his mechanics back to where they were. After finishing last season shooting 34% from 3-point range, Green started this season at 37.5% through the first 14 games of the season.

Rotation tweak

Whenever the Rockets choose to stagger Kevin Porter Jr. and Jalen Green, Porter will leave the game first, and Eric Gordon will reenter for Green and man the Rockets’ backcourt with one of the reserve guards. Stephen Silas switched that up on Monday by having Porter sub for Green with 1:42 left in the first quarter, so he shared the floor with TyTy Washington for the remainder of the first quarter and Gordon for the start of the second. Green then checked in for Porter midway through the second and the two did not share the floor again until the 3:33 mark of the period.

Entering the night, Porter and Green shared the floor for an average of 30 minutes each game but played together just 11 minutes in the first half on Monday. Silas switched it up in the second half and mirrored his top two guards by playing them both the entire third quarter, and there was just one minute in the second half where one wasn’t on the floor with the other.

Next up

The Rockets will head to Boston to play the second game of a back-to-back against Jayson Tatum and the defending Eastern Conference champion Celtics.

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