Takeaways: Jabari Smith Jr., Tari Eason have dazzling debuts as Rockets blast Spurs




 

In their first appearances at Toyota Center, newly drafted rookie forwards Jabari Smith Jr. and Tari Eason were outstanding in Sunday night's preseason opener as the Houston Rockets crushed the visiting San Antonio Spurs, 134-96 (box score).

Smith, drafted at No. 3 overall in the 2022 first round out of Auburn, started and scored 21 points in 24 minutes on 8-of-15 shooting (53.8%), including 5-of-8 (62.5%) from 3-point range. The 6-foot-11 forward also grabbed 8 rebounds in that time. Meanwhile, Eason - drafted at No. 17 overall out of LSU - added 21 points and 10 rebounds in 19 minutes off the bench, shooting 9-of-13 (69.2%).

But, as indicated by the 38-point margin, Smith and Eason had plenty of help in the exhibition opener for both teams.

Other Sunday standouts for the Rockets included:

  • Alperen Sengun: 13 points, 5-of-6 shooting (83.3%), 5 rebounds, 3 assists in 20 minutes

  • Eric Gordon: 13 points, 3-of-5 on 3-pointers (60.0%), 2 assists in 16 minutes

  • Josh Christopher: 15 points, 6-of-9 shooting (66.7%), 3-of-4 on 3-pointers (75.0%), 4 rebounds, 4 assists in 21 minutes

Houston's starting backcourt of Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr. struggled to shoot against the Spurs, making just 6-of-21 shots (28.6%), combined. However, the Rockets were a team-high +24 and +23, respectively, in the minutes that Green and Porter played.

San Antonio was led by veteran big man Jakob Poeltl, who had 9 points (57.1% FG), 10 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 2 steals in 17 minutes. Devin Vassell scored a team-high 13 points but shot just 4-of-13 from the field (30.8%) and 1-of-7 on 3-pointers (14.3%).

Scroll on for postgame interviews and analysis. The Rockets (1-0) will resume their preseason schedule on Friday at home versus Toronto, while the Spurs (0-1) host Orlando on Thursday.

Highlights

Interviews and Analysis

Story originally appeared on Rockets Wire

COMMENTS

More Related News

Nikola Jokic thinks Rockets should run more offense through Alperen Sengun
Nikola Jokic thinks Rockets should run more offense through Alperen Sengun

Nikola Jokic on #Rockets center Alperen Sengun: "This guy has the talent. I think they need to play a little bit more through him. Sometimes they look a little bit more stagnant."

Lakers player grades: L.A. loses heartbreaker to Pacers
Lakers player grades: L.A. loses heartbreaker to Pacers

The Lakers looked to be on their way to a victory over the Indiana Pacers, but down the stretch, they were their own worst enemy.

Rockets improving by becoming one of NBA
Rockets improving by becoming one of NBA's best rebounding teams

Led by Alperen Sengun, the #Rockets now rank third in the NBA in rebounds per game, and it's played a huge role in their recent wins. @BigSargeSportz has more on their improvement:

NBA Power Rankings: Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton powering surging Suns
NBA Power Rankings: Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton powering surging Suns

Rookie Wire took a look at the NBA through games played on Sunday and ranked each team from worst to first.

Thunder vs. Pelicans: Lineups, injury reports and broadcast info for Monday
Thunder vs. Pelicans: Lineups, injury reports and broadcast info for Monday

The 8-12 Oklahoma City Thunder travel on the road to take on the 11-8 New Orleans Pelicans on Monday.

Leave a Comment

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

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Basketball