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Takeaways: Rockets blast Pistons as Alperen Sengun leads third-quarter explosion

HOUSTON — At the mid-point of a season-long homestand of seven straight games at Toyota Center, Alperen Sengun and the Rockets (16-15) finally got back to their winning ways with Monday’s 136-113 blowout victory (box score) over the lowly Detroit Pistons (3-30).

After leading by only four points at halftime, the Rockets blew things open with a dominant 47-25 third quarter and ended what had been a three-game losing streak. A fourth foul drawn on Detroit’s Jalen Duren (12 points, 13 rebounds in 22 minutes) proved critical, as Sengun quickly feasted versus backup center James Wiseman.

In all, Sengun only needed to play 27 minutes in Monday’s blowout to record a team-high 26 points and 9 assists, shooting 9-of-13 from the field (69.2%) and 8-of-9 on free throws (88.9%). Many of those assists went to fellow third-year prospect Jalen Green, who scored 22 points while making 5-of-9 from 3-point range (55.6%).

Other Houston players to score in double figures included:

  • Fred VanVleet: 15 points, 7 assists, 0 turnovers; 6-of-11 shooting (54.5%), 3-of-6 on 3-pointers (50.0%)

  • Jae’Sean Tate: 16 points, 3 rebounds; 6-of-10 shooting (50.0%)

  • Tari Eason: 17 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals; 8-of-15 shooting (53.3%), 1-of-4 on 3-pointers (25.0%)

On a themed “Twin Night” at Toyota Center, Monday’s New Year’s Day clash was the first NBA meeting between Houston’s Amen Thompson and Detroit’s Ausar Thompson, his twin brother. Both rookies were drafted in the top five of the 2023 first round, and Amen had one of his strongest games yet — finishing with a career-high 12 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals in 28 minutes. Thompson made 5-of-6 shots (83.3%), including his lone 3-point attempt.

Dillon Brooks (right oblique strain) again sat out for the Rockets, while Jabari Smith Jr. (left ankle sprain) returned from injury to add 9 points and 5 rebounds in 22 minutes, shooting 3-of-4 from 3-point range (75.0%). Brooks remains day-to-day moving forward.

Here’s our look at Monday’s highlights and postgame interviews, along with reaction by media members and joyous fans. As Houston’s seven-game homestand continues, game five comes Wednesday versus the Brooklyn Nets (15-18). Tipoff is at 7:00 p.m. Central.

Jan. 1 Rockets-Pistons reaction

Story originally appeared on Rockets Wire