Stephen Silas, Rockets impressed by quick decisions of rookie Jalen Green

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Stephen Silas, Rockets impressed by quick decisions of rookie Jalen Green
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Jalen Green was always quick, physically. Now the Houston Rockets rookie is becoming quick at the mental side of the NBA game, as well.

Green’s strong showing in a feel-good win (recap) at Washington fell somewhat beneath the radar, since it lacked the game-defining moment of Kevin Porter Jr.’s winning 3-pointer or the redemption angle of Porter and Christian Wood succeeding after memorable suspensions.

But Green still scored 22 points on Wednesday, which was tied with Wood for most on the Rockets, and he shot an efficient 8-of-17 from the field (47.1%) and 4-of-5 on free throws (80.0%). The No. 2 overall pick from the first round of the 2021 NBA draft also grabbed 6 rebounds, and the Rockets were +10 in the 35 minutes that he played.

“It was just an attack night,” said Green, who hit 2-of-7 on 3-pointers (28.6%). “My shot wasn’t falling early. Let me get to the rim.”

In six games since returning from a left hamstring strain on Dec. 23, Green has averaged 20.5 points and 2.7 rebounds in 30.0 minutes, and he’s doing it on improved shooting of 44.6% from the field and 44.4% on 3-pointers. Most notably, he’s averaging 5.7 free-throw attempts per game over that span and making 85.3% of his shots from the line.

By contrast, in 18 games in October and November prior to injury, Green scored 14.0 points on 38.2% shooting and 27.8% from 3-point range, and he averaged only 3.2 free-throw attempts per game.

While some improvement can be attributed to Houston no longer using the dual-big lineups of Wood and Daniel Theis, which has clearly improved the team’s floor spacing, Green also looks to be making sharper decisions as his rookie year progresses. His coaches have noticed.

“Man, he’s so quick,” head coach Stephen Silas said postgame of Green. “He gets to that corner and it’s over. Now, he’s getting to those little quick finishes. With him, it’s all about quick decisions. That’s what I’ve been harping on with him. He’s doing it. It looks good.”

Green and the Rockets (11-28), who snapped an eight-game losing streak with Wednesday’s win, will look to build on their momentum when they kick off a three-game homestand on Friday versus Dallas.

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