Rockets celebrate fifth straight win as Fred VanVleet takes over late versus Pelicans

In the sixth game of a season-long homestand and the opener of the NBA’s new in-season tournament for both teams, the Rockets continued their winning ways in Friday’s 104-101 victory (box score) over New Orleans. It’s the fifth straight win for Houston, which is now 5-3 on the 2023-24 season and 1-0 in tournament play.

The Rockets trailed for most of the second half but outscored the Pelicans by 12 in a decisive fourth quarter, with veteran guard Fred VanVleet going on a personal 8-0 run in the final 80 seconds. That turned a 5-point Houston deficit into a 3-point lead with 15 seconds left.

VanVleet finished with 20 points and 8 assists, and he made 4-of-9 from 3-poitn range (44.4%) — including a pair of daggers in that closing flurry that set Toyota Center into a frenzy.

Jalen Green led the Rockets in scoring with 25 points and 4 rebounds on Friday, while Alperen Sengun added an efficient 24 points and 8 rebounds on 11-of-15 shooting (73.3%).

In a losing effort, Brandon Ingram scored a game-high 31 points on 11-of-24 shooting (45.8%). Zion Williamson added 24 points and 8 rebounds on 8-of-16 from the field (50.0%), though it’s worth noting that Houston’s strong defense forced those two stars into nine turnovers. That matched the entire team total for the Rockets, who had half as many giveaways as the 18 by the Pelicans.

Here’s our look at highlights and postgame interviews, along with reaction by media members and fans. Next up for Houston, as its extended run at Toyota Center concludes, is Sunday’s matchup versus defending NBA champion Denver Nuggets. Tipoff is at 6 p.m. Central.

Nov. 10 Rockets-Pelicans reaction

[lawrence-related id=117862,117860]

Story originally appeared on Rockets Wire