Three-point avalanche: Three takeaways from Wednesday’s 123-114 loss to the Nets

Mar 29, 2023; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Houston Rockets guard Kevin Porter Jr. (3) goes past Brooklyn Nets forward Cameron Johnson (2) for a dunk attempt in the second quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Three-point avalanche: Three takeaways from Wednesday’s 123-114 loss to the Nets

The Rockets’ losing streak has reached seven games after Wednesday’s 123-114 loss to the Brooklyn Nets. Brooklyn got hot from behind the 3-point line in the fourth quarter and closed the game on a 20-6 run. It was a one-point game at halftime, but with the Nets up by two, the Rockets scored 11 in a row to take a nine-point advantage before Brooklyn caught fire. Cam Johnson’s 31 points led the Nets, and Kevin Porter Jr matched him for the Rockets, with 29 coming in the game’s final three quarters.

Dying by the 3

The Nets have become a 3-point shooting team since trading Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, but over the last seven games, they were converting on just 33.1% of their long-distance attempts. The shots started to fall against the Rockets, especially when the game was on the line.

Brooklyn shot 17-of-35 from behind the arc on Wednesday, but they made 9-of-11 in the fourth quarter, knocking down eight of their last nine, which included draining all four of their 3’s in the game’s final three minutes, which helped the Nets close the game with a 20-6 run.

Cam Johnson shot 5-of-9 from 3-point range, Mikal Bridges was 4-of-6, while Spencer Dinwiddie and Royce O’Neale made three apiece.

Kevin Porter Jr. comes alive

Porter was hit with a technical foul late in a lousy first quarter that saw him score two points on 1-of-7 shooting, but from that point on, he was the Rockets’ best player. Over the game’s final three quarters, Porter scored 29 points on 10-of-15 shooting; he made four 3-pointers and five free throws. Porter was playing at such a high level that Rockets head coach Stephen Silas kept him on the floor to start the fourth quarter after he played all 12 minutes of the third, and he helped the Rockets score 11 straight points to take a nine-point lead early in the final period.

To go with the scoring, Porter added nine rebounds, six assists, and three steals to go with only one turnover.

Alperen Sengun takes advantage of the matchup

Sengun found success inside the first time the Rockets and Nets played, and he did so again on Wednesday. The Rockets center finished with 21 points on 10-of-16 shooting. 15 of his 16 shots came from inside the paint, and he added 12 rebounds, with eight coming at the offensive end of the floor. The Nets played Nic Claxton opposite Sengun, and then they started switching guards onto him when the Rockets ran pick-and-rolls. Sengun outweighs Claxton by 30 pounds, and he’s obviously bigger than the guards the Nets threw at him, so Sengun did a good job of playing with authority.

Next up

The Rockets will return home to start their final homestand of the season when the Detroit Pistons visit Toyota Center on Friday night.

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