Defense regresses, Jalen Green’s slump lingers as Spurs blast Rockets

Houston’s defense took a big step back and rookie guard Jalen Green had another cold shooting game as San Antonio blew out the Rockets on Tuesday night at Toyota Center, 134-104 (box score).

The Rockets went 3-2 on their recent road trip — and nearly 4-1, with one game lost on a Steph Curry buzzer-beater. But in their return home, they looked like a very different and lifeless unit on the defensive end.

Making matters worse, rookie guard Jalen Green continued to struggle. The No. 2 overall pick from the 2021 NBA draft scored 7 points on just 3-of-16 shooting (18.8%), including 1-of-8 on 3-pointers (12.5%). In his last six games, Green is 3-of-32 from 3-point range (9.4%).

Arguably the biggest positive from a bad night was that Green immediately returned to the court postgame to work on his jump shot.

Kevin Porter Jr. led the Rockets with 16 points and 9 assists, including 2-of-4 on 3-pointers (50.0%), while Christian Wood had 15 points and 7 rebounds. Jae’Sean Tate tallied 14 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 steals, but he played only 19 minutes in a clear blowout scenario.

Rookie reserves Alperen Sengun (14 points, 5 rebounds, 3 blocks) and Josh Christopher (13 points, 3 assists, 66.7% FG) played well, as did second-year forward KJ Martin (13 points, 6-of-7 shooting, 8 rebounds).

Dejounte Murray led the visiting Spurs (18-30) with 19 points (53.3% FG), 10 assists, and 3 steals in only 24 minutes, which reflects the lack of resistance and poor communication by Houston’s defense.

The rebuilding Rockets (14-34), who have not won at home since Dec. 8, have two days off before resuming this four-game homestand on Friday night versus Portland. Until then, scroll on for highlights and postgame reaction following a dry Tuesday night in Houston.

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