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Ime Udoka still sees big-time scorer in Houston’s Jalen Green

After putting on a brilliant scoring display at home with 29 points in a tough overtime loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockets guard Jalen Green took his talents on the road and had a repeat performance from Wednesday’s game.

On Friday, Green’s 19 points in the first half helped the Rockets set the tone in Charlotte on their way to a 138-104 blowout victory.

“We were just playing fast and getting out in transition,” Green said postgame. “Getting defensive stops and getting out and running. Once we did that, we were pretty hard to guard.”

The 21-year-old continued his scoring onslaught on the Hornets coming out of halftime, nearly matching his first-half performance with 17 points in the third quarter. In all, that resulted in a 36-point night in just over 28 minutes of action, with Rockets head coach Ime Udoka opting to rest the majority of his starters in the fourth quarter.

Udoka has preached the importance of consistency to Green this season and wanted to see more out of the rising star, who has been benched at times this year for a lack of aggressiveness.

“We would have talks and one-on-one sessions,” Udoka said when asked about keeping Green’s confidence level up during his slumps. “The coaches do that every day with him. Our thing is to continue to be aggressive, take the right shots, and make the right plays.”

What has helped Green get his offensive game back on track is his ability to find open spots inside the 3-point line and take the shots the defense is giving him. In turn, this has led to scoring opportunities in the midrange areas and around the basket.

On Friday, Green’s uber-efficient 36 points came despite making only one 3-pointer. The third-year prospect was 11-of-13 on two-point shots (84.6%) and 11-of-12 from the free-throw line (91.7%).

In the last two games, Green has shot 50% or better from the field in both, including a 60% night against the Hornets. He has frequently relied on his ability to manipulate defenses with quickness. On defense, Green had a clear effect in Charlotte. He was a very aggressive rebounder; he set a career high with 10 boards.

“Make the right plays and continue to guard and help rebound, other ways you can impact the game, and then the shots are going to fall eventually,” Udoka said. “He has taken good shots and is getting great looks, and now it is falling at a little bit of a higher clip, and obviously, he is being more aggressive. He is a big-time scorer, and when he gets that going, everything else is easier for him.”

With 65 combined points in his last two outings, Green has bumped his scoring average from 17.1 to 17.8 points per game. That scoring total allowed Green to pass Fred VanVleet for second on the 2023-24 Rockets, trailing only All-Star candidate Alperen Sengun.

Story originally appeared on Rockets Wire