Rockets center Christian Wood joins elite list with start to 2020-21 season

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With 21 points in Thursday night’s victory, Houston Rockets center Christian Wood joined Basketball Hall of Famers Moses Malone and Connie Hawkins as the only undrafted players since 1960 to score 20+ points in their first three games of an NBA regular season.

The athletic 6-foot-10 big man also grabbed 12 rebounds, blocked two shots, and dished out three assists in Houston’s 122-119 home win (box score) over the Sacramento Kings. As usual, Wood was efficient on New Year’s Eve in collecting those numbers, making 9-of-14 shots (64.3%) from the field while committing only one turnover in 32 minutes.

“I’m happy to be here in Houston,” the 25-year-old said postgame from Toyota Center. “I’m playing with two All-Star guards [James Harden and John Wall], and I have Boogie [DeMarcus Cousins] helping me out. … I’ve been saying it all along, the sky’s the limit.”

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Through three games with the Rockets, Wood is averaging 25.0 points (57.1% FG), 9.3 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks in 37.3 minutes per game. Those are the types of numbers that, if sustained, could potentially make him an All-Star candidate later in the 2020-21 season.

For an undrafted rookie who was waived as recently as the 2019 offseason and available for any team to claim, it’s a meteoric rise.

Wood and the Rockets (1-2) will look to keep their momentum rolling in Saturday’s rematch with the Kings (3-2) from Toyota Center in downtown Houston. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. Central.

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