Rockets highlights: Rookie forward Jae’Sean Tate dazzles in NBA debut

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Ben DuBose
·3 min read
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In Saturday’s narrow overtime loss to Portland, the Houston Rockets (0-1) were +14 in the 37 minutes played by rookie forward Jae’Sean Tate, with that plus/minus figure leading the entire team. They were -16 in the 16 minutes that he did not play, leading to the 128-126 defeat (box score).

As expected, the rugged 6-foot-4 forward brought the unique blend of defense and toughness that had many comparing the 25-year-old to a younger PJ Tucker. At times during Saturday’s regular-season opener, Tate put the clamps on Carmelo Anthony and even Damian Lillard.

But Tate also played well on offense, scoring 13 points while making 5-of-9 shots (55.6%) from the field. He flashed promise as a playmaker, recording two assists and potentially more than that, had his teammates made the resulting open shots. (Houston made just 11-of-35 3-pointers for the game, or 31.4%.) Tate was a part of Houston’s closing lineup alongside frontcourt starters Christian Wood, PJ Tucker, and Danuel House Jr., showing the requisite athleticism to also play on the perimeter.

It all made for an eye-opening debut by a young player who was undrafted by the NBA before playing overseas in Belgium and Australia during the last two seasons. Here’s a sampling of some of Tate’s most impressive moments from Saturday’s game against the Trail Blazers.

Tate’s 37 minutes off the bench proved essential in helping the shorthanded Rockets stay competitive in a road game versus a playoff team from last season, even with six players unavailable due to COVID-19 issues. Houston’s roster featured only nine active players, just one above the minimum requirement for an NBA game to be played.

Tate and the Rockets will resume play on Monday night in Denver, with Houston hoping to even its record on the young 2020-21 season.

List

Rockets reaction: McCollum, Lillard outlast Harden, Wood in overtime thriller

OddsMoney LinePoint SpreadTotal Points
Houston
+125+2.5O 214.5
Detroit
-150-2.5U 214.5