2 recent moves that show Ime Udoka is exactly what the Rockets needed

Houston Rockets v Denver Nuggets
Houston Rockets v Denver Nuggets / Matthew Stockman/GettyImages
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2. Udoka benches Alperen Sengun for final seven minutes against Hawks

Wednesday's game against the Atlanta Hawks was a game of swings. The Rockets trailed 71-51 in the first half, then took a 90-89 lead at the end of the third.

The Rockets trailed 121-109 in the fourth, then came back and cut their deficit to 127-123. Ultimately, the Rockets traded baskets all night and were simply unable to get consistent stops on defense.

Alperen Sengun played a large part in this, as his inability to defend was exposed over and over. The Hawks caught him out of position all night in the pick-and-roll.

We'd see them set a pick, slip the screen, and throw the lob over the top. Over and over and over.

Udoka, a defensive-minded wizard, grew weary of seeing Sengun out of position and unable to anchor down and made the executive decision to pull the Turkish big man with 6:31 remaining in the final period. Sengun didn't return for the rest of the way.

Udoka opted to close the game with a Fred VanVleet, Aaron Holiday, Jalen Green, Dillon Brooks, and Jabari Smith Jr. lineup, while the Rockets were down 121-109.

The move paid off, as the Rockets found themselves down 129-125 with 52 ticks remaining in the contest, as they ripped off a 14-0 run within a matter of minutes.

Gone was the Hawks' ability to get easy lob passes over the top. The Rockets forced Hawks guard Trae Young to commit three of his four turnovers during this stretch, while forcing consecutive shot clock violations.

After the game, Udoka explained why he benched arguably the Rockets' best player.

"The mistakes I talked about. We want our bigs to be up and stay beneath the rollers. Okongwu got out a few times. Capela same thing. When they're not setting screens and slipping, you have to be able to adjust and defend those actions. That's what I saw. Not the best pick and roll defense."

The only issue with this decision, from my vantage point, is that he didn't remove Sengun from the game earlier than he did.