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by: Kris Gardner, United States Basketball Writers Association member. Credentialed media member since 1997. USBWA approved online journalist. Voter of Katrina McClain, Naismith, USBWA, and Wooden awards.

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Rockets' 20 point lead evaporates in 104-96 loss to Minnesota

POSTED: January 9, 2023 -- 8:23 a.m. CT

HOUSTON, TX (Toyota Center) -- The Houston Rockets led 58-38 with more than 5 minutes remaining in the first half Sunday night. The lead was down to 4 at halftime. The Rockets lost the second half 46-34 for a 104-96 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Houston (10-30) has lost 7 consecutive games.

Sunday's loss was not quite a tale of two halves because the Rockets' struggles began in the second quarter. However, for 18 minutes of the first half, the Rockets shared the ball and played great defense.

"We start the game so good today again," Alperen Sengun said in the locker room after the game. "We shared the ball. Good defense. Everything. We did everything first half."

Sengun scored 18 points in the first on 8 for 9 field goal shooting. The 18 points marked his highest total for any half in his career.

The Rockets made 25 field goals (49 attempts, 51.0 fg%) and had 17 assists in the first half.

"Second half. I didn't get the ball much though," Sengun commented.

Sengun got 6 field goal attempts in the second half. He missed all 6 shots.

Houston had 9 assists in the second half and made only 13 field goals (40 attempts, 32.5 fg%).

"We just went away from the sharing the ball," Kevin Porter Jr said after the game.

The Rockets scored a season-low 34 points in the second half including just 15 points in the fourth quarter.

"We have a wildly, inconsistent team," Stephen Silas, Rockets Head Coach said.

Houston's losing streak extends to seven games while Minnesota has won four in a row after losing six straight prior.

Kevin Porter Jr. scored a game-high 25 points with 6 rebounds and 5 assists

Jalen Green finished the game with 9 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists. Green shot 4 for 15 from the floor and scored below 10 points for the first time this season.


The Rockets' next game is Wednesday, January 11, on the road, against the Sacramento Kings. Wednesday's game is the first of 2 straight in Sacramento. Tip is set for 9 p.m. Central Time.


Jalen Green had the second-longest streak of scoring in double-figures to open a season by a player 20 or younger at 39 games (Zion Williamson: 61 games in 2020-21). Green has already recorded 5+ boards and 5+ assists in the same game six times this season, matching his total as a rookie in 2021-22.

Minnesota's Rudy Gobert had 18 points and 11 rebounds while shooting 8-of-12 from the floor. During Minnesota's current four-game winning streak, he is averaging 17.0 ppg and 12.0 rpg while shooting 70.0% from the floor.

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