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Rockets guard Jalen Green wins first Western Conference Player of the Week award

They say hard work and dedication pay off, and no one is a better example of that than Houston Rockets guard Jalen Green.

On Monday, after helping lead Houston to a 3-0 record in the preceding week, the 22-year-old was named Western Conference Player of the Week for the first time in his young NBA career.

Green is the second player from the Rockets to win the award this season. In January, third-year center Alperen Sengun won the honor.

Yet, even after losing Sengun to ankle and knee injuries on March 10, Green played a key role in helping Houston overcome what appeared to be a big loss. The Rockets (32-35) have now won five straight games and are 7-1 in March, and they are 3-0 since Sengun’s injury.

On Saturday, Green had a game-high 26 points and 11 rebounds in Houston’s blowout win over Cleveland — representing his fifth double-double in the team’s last 24 games. During March to date, Green has averaged 24.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game.

Green’s resurgence in recent weeks is a big reason as to why Houston is still in contention to make the Western Conference play-in tournament, as they currently trail the Lakers (36-32) by just three games in the loss column with 15 left to play. The Rockets would own the potential tiebreaker with Los Angeles.

“He’s got that swag, that confidence, making shots at a high level,” backcourt mate Fred VanVleet said after Houston defeated the Cavaliers on Saturday. “His threes are getting better. But he’s been playing good ball for a while now at both ends of the floor. He’s guarding. He’s taking pride in rebounding. The better he plays, the easier it is on everybody. He’s been playing his ass off.”

As the No. 2 overall draft pick of the NBA’s 2021 first round, Green has showcased his durability by appearing in all 67 games this season and has used his athletic skillset to help close out games.

Rockets head coach Ime Udoka recently acknowledged that Green had improved while working with assistant coach Royal Ivey on more extensive film study sessions. This led to some on-court changes.

“One thing that really helped with him was recognition,” Udoka said after Monday’s practice. “A lot of times, not being caught off guard when they (opposing defenses) are doing something at the start of the game. He recognizes it, dissects it, and gets the shot he wants.”

Story originally appeared on Rockets Wire