If you listened to the last episode of the Summit State of Mind Podcast I said “No Jalen Green and no KPJ…no problem!” Tonight the Rockets did their part in ensuring a 2nd win in a row with an all out effort. The Rockets may have been short handed tonight but a career game from Tari Eason, a showcased resurgence of Eric Gordon, and overall hustle and motivation led them to the victory. This victory assured one thing for the Rockets and that is, with a fourth straight win against the Thunder, the Houston Rockets own OKC.
Tari Eason: Rising Star
If any naysayers had any doubt about Tari Eason’s exclusion from the Rising Stars game, well he shut that down QUICK! He probably played the best game of his young career tonight and it came at a great time.
Tari, in only 19 minutes, scored 20 points, grabbed 13 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 blocks. However, the most impressive stat was the fact that 12 of his 13 boards were on the OFFENSIVE glass. It’s very obvious now that Tari’s middle name is hustle because the man showcased that on the floor tonight. He was tenacious on the both ends of the floor and made every moment count in his limited minutes. Barring injury, it seems like Tari should be next in line for the Rising Stars game.
How Houston owned OKC
When it looks like he’s dead to rights, Eric Gordon decides to come back like Rocky Balboa and show some life. EG has led the Rockets in scoring, the last couple of games, and the guy has gone full RESURGENT and SHOWCASE mode. He couldn’t have picked a better time with the trade deadline right around the corner. EG poured in 25 points tonight, with 8/17 shooting, to basically match his performance in Detroit. Look contending teams is this a guy that can help your roster? ABSOLUTELY!
KJ Martin and Alperen Sengun also chimed in with a pair of great stat lines. KJ added 18 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists to help the Rockets get the win tonight. He played with great tenacity while also making another clutch 4th quarter bucket to clinch the victory for Houston. KJ has shown that the 4th quarter is when he can shine and the last couple of games have definitely given that a spotlight. Alperen Sengun helped with 10 points, 12 rebounds, and 4 assists. Although the stat-line may seem a bit lackluster, Al P’s +/- for the game was a +15 so this gives a glimpse that he definitely played a positive part in the win.
On to the next one
It’s only fair that the Rockets get to relish in this victory and celebrate the win. However, Jay Z said it best when he said, “Onto the next one,” as the Rockets have to move forward and look to Friday when they play Toronto. This Toronto team has been struggling amidst trade rumors, dissension amongst coaching, and a stronger Eastern Conference that’s left them reeling. One thing I’d like to see is the Rockets possibly jump on the Raptors early and see how they respond. If Toronto is deflated, it’s certainly possible for the Rockets to get a 3rd straight victory.