Moving Forward: Short-handed Rockets defeat the Pistons behind the play of Martin and Eason


The Houston Rockets faced a mountain of adversity as they stepped inside the Little Caesars Arena to play the Detroit Pistons.

They knew for a while that they would be without head coach Stephen Silas as he was scheduled to attend the memorial service of his father, Paul Silas, who passed away in December 2022.

It was also clear that they would be without starting point guard Kevin Porter Jr. who suffered a foot injury earlier this month when the Rockets faced the Sacramento Kings.

They were not expecting to take the court without their two leading scorers, Jalen Green and Alperen Sengun, who were both ruled out before the game.

Down three starters and a coach would make the best teams in the league wonder if they could win a game under those circumstances. Yet, the young Rockets team led by Eric Gordon's season-high 24 points helped Houston defeat Detroit 117-114.

"Ninety-five percent of it was about effort and hustle," said John Lucas II, who filled the head coach's role in Stephen Silas's absences.

Even though coach Lucas could have been talking about the ferocity with which Gordon played or the tenacity of Jabari Smith Jr., Jae'Sean Tate, Josh Christopher, and Usman Garuba displayed throughout the game. In the back of his mind, all he could see was the constant play of forwards K.J. Martin and Tari Eason.

Eason's play off the bench helped the Rockets overcome some rough spots on Saturday. His ten points and seven rebounds helped Houston take a 59-57 lead into halftime after trailing for most of the half against Detroit.

He finished the game with the third double-double of his career with 16 points and ten rebounds. Eason scored ten-plus points in four of the last five games he has played.

"I know basketball is a game of runs," Eason said after the game. "All I needed was time and opportunity just to showcase what I could do. You can go one of two ways. You can give up or you can keep fighting. Tonight showed that a lot of guys in here, including myself, are going to keep fighting."

"Keep fighting" must have been the mantra that teammate K.J. Martin had stuck in his mind against the Pistons.

Starting in his ninth consecutive game, Martin's late-game heroics and his 16 points and ten rebounds helped the Rockets secure their 12th win of the season.

It was his second double-double in the last three games. During his last nine starts, he is averaging 13.5 points and 8.3 rebounds per game while shooting 70.2 percent from the field.

With Houston trailing Detroit 112-109 with 38.5 left to play in the game, coach Lucas called up the perfect play for Martin. Knowing that most of the focus would be on Gordon with the ball in his hands, Martin faked a screen and slipped to the basket, where Gordon hit him in stride. He would get fouled at the rim as the shot fell in to give the Rockets a one-point lead.

Martin missed the free throw, but Jae'Sean Tate retrieved the missed shot. After he attempted to score failed, Martin followed the ball for a putback and gave the Rockets a 113-112 lead.

"I felt like once we got stops and our offense got going, the game opened up," said Martin in his postgame on-court interview.

Houston will have the next three days off before taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday at the Toyota Center.


Stephen Silas hands over coaching duties versus Pistons to attend late father's memorial

Rockets coach Stephen Silas sees Tari Eason as impactful role player

Story originally appeared on Rockets Wire


More Related News

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander throws shade at LeBron James
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander throws shade at LeBron James

Oklahoma City Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander admitted he's never been a fan of LeBron James.

Draymond Green, Klay Thompson impressed by Rockets rookies Jabari Smith Jr., Tari Eason
Draymond Green, Klay Thompson impressed by Rockets rookies Jabari Smith Jr., Tari Eason

"They play the game the right way and go about the business of playing good basketball," Draymond Green says of #Rockets rookies Jabari Smith Jr. and Tari Eason. "That is very hard to find."

Coaches' sons Hurley and Musselman to meet in Sweet 16

Every day he wasn't out recruiting or away at a game, Bill Musselman wrote a message on his son's school lunch bag. The message and the relentless pursuit of perfection it implored served as the substratum of Eric Musselman's life. "Everything that happened with my dad and I, whenever I was around him, being a competitor was kind of beyond belief," the Arkansas coach said Wednesday.

'I think we can reach really high heights': Chet Holmgren talks Thunder's future

In an interview with @ComplexSports , Chet Holmgren is high on OKC's future.

Rockets sign veteran guard DJ Augustin for rest of season
Rockets sign veteran guard DJ Augustin for rest of season

To comply with the NBA's roster requirements, the #Rockets are signing veteran point guard DJ Augustin for the remainder of the 2022-23 season.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply


Top News: Basketball