After shooting 0-for-6 from 3-point range in his preseason debut, Houston Rockets rookie Jalen Green was much improved on Thursday versus Miami. The No. 2 overall pick from the 2021 draft scored a team-high 20 points, including 4-of-9 on 3-pointers (44.4%) in 28 minutes.
However, Green’s strong showing wasn’t enough in an exhibition versus one of the NBA’s perennial contenders, as Kyle Lowry, Jimmy Butler, and Bam Adebayo led the veteran-laden Heat to a road victory at Toyota Center, 113-106 (box score). Sharpshooters Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson paced Miami (2-0) with 24 and 20 points, respectively, while Lowry added 10 assists in just 19 minutes. As expected, many of Houston’s young defenders struggled versus established veterans.
For the Rockets, Christian Wood (13 points, 8 rebounds) and Kevin Porter Jr. (12 points, 4 assists) finished second and third in scoring, but they shot just 4-of-10 and 3-of-10 from the field, respectively. Like Green, fellow rookie guard Josh Christopher impressed by scoring 12 points in the second half, helping Houston cut into the final margin.
Eric Gordon (sore left ankle) and Jae’Sean Tate (back tightness) did not participate Thursday, though initial reports suggested that neither injury was particularly concerning. Houston head coach Stephen Silas said that Gordon would have played if it was a regular-season game.
The Rockets (1-1) will continue their four-game exhibition slate on Monday night at Toronto, with tipoff scheduled for 6:00 p.m. Central.
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