A lot occurred at the FedExForum on Wednesday night as the Houston Rockets took on the Memphis Grizzlies.
Memphis superstar Ja Morant returned from his eight-game suspension for violating the NBA’s code of conduct policy. Morant was suspended after posting an Instagram live stream from a Denver strip club, where he was seen waving a firearm. After undergoing multiple counseling sessions at a Florida facility, he rejoined the team.
The crowd erupted when Morant got off the bench and checked into the game late into the first quarter.
All-Star big man Jaren Jackson Jr. had a season-high 37 points and 10 rebounds as Memphis defeated Houston, 130-125. Rockets forward KJ Martin scored a career-high 31 points in the loss while Kevin Porter Jr. finished with 14 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists for only the second triple-double of his career.
But what stood out to fans was the contined evolution of second-year shooting guard Jalen Green, who led Houston in scoring with 32 points. He has scored 30-plus points in 13 games this season.
#Rockets Jalen Green continues his efficient scoring streak
— AT&T SportsNet™ | SW (@ATTSportsNetSW) March 23, 2023
Over Houston’s last four outings, Green has averaged 29.2 points per game, shooting 48% from the field and 38% from 3-point range.
“Him being efficient, getting to the free throw line, having great shot selection, it just looks like he is under control on the basketball court,” head coach Stephen Silas said of Green, the No. 2 overall pick from the first round of the NBA’s 2021 draft class. “You think about this time last year where he kind of started to get it going, it is even better now because he is doing it more efficiently.”
In short, the game is slowing down for Green. With rookie forward Jabari Smith Jr. becoming more of an offensive weapon to go along with Porter and Martin, the 21-year-old is playing more freely.
“I am really just trying to take the shots that my guys get me, instead of forcing all the time and having to jack up shots,” Green said postgame from Memphis. “Guys are locked in, setting screens, and we have been executing the offense pretty well. I think that plays a big part in how I have been scoring.”
The Rockets have a Friday rematch in Memphis before heading to Cleveland for Sunday’s game. With Green becoming more efficient and productive on both ends of the court, Houston (18-55) has won three of its last six games and five of its past 11, overall.