Interviews: Ime Udoka, Rockets react to fifth straight win, Fred VanVleet’s late heroics

The Houston Rockets were tied for the worst record in the Western Conference a season ago. But at 5-3 early in the 2023-24 season, they would be in the playoffs if the season ended today, and their five-game winning streak is tied for longest in the West.

So, how are they doing it? New coach Ime Udoka is one big factor, as are offseason veteran additions like Dillon Brooks, Jeff Green, and Fred VanVleet. Beyond bringing defense and stability, VanVleet also had a personal 8-0 run in the final 80 seconds of Friday’s thrilling win over the Pelicans, which flipped a 5-point Houston deficit with just over a minute remaining into a 3-point win.

Perhaps in large part due to that veteran leadership, third-year prospects Jalen Green and Alperen Sengun have also stepped up, with Sengun posting 24 points (73.3% FG) and 8 rebounds in a strong outing versus veteran New Orleans big man Jonas Valančiūnas.

With full videos courtesy of Jackson Gatlin of Locked on Rockets, here’s what several of those individuals had to say from Toyota Center following Friday’s epic finish. Next up for Houston, as it looks to close out its seven-game homestand with six straight wins, is another in-season tournament clash on Sunday night versus reigning NBA champion Denver. Tipoff is at 6:00 p.m. Central.

Ime Udoka Nov. 10 postgame

Fred VanVleet

Alperen Sengun Nov. 10 postgame

Dillon Brooks Nov. 10 postgame

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Story originally appeared on Rockets Wire