1. Udoka benches Jalen Green vs. Bucks, despite Green putting his offensive struggles to bed
Sunday night's game against the Milwaukee Bucks was viewed as an opportunity for the Houston Rockets to prove they were ready to compete against one of the best teams in the league.
Jalen Green had been slumping heading into the game, and especially on the road, so fans didn't quite expect anything different on Sunday.
In the first minute of the game, however, Green drove to the rim and drew a foul on Khris Middleton, which was a sign of things to come throughout the rest of the half. Green drove to the body of Brook Lopez later in the half and was consistently getting in the paint and hunting efficient shots.
Green had 11 points in the first half, as he exploded in the second quarter and did his best to help the Rockets keep their deficit under 10 points.
Then, something surprising happened. Green and Alperen Sengun were pulled with 3:06 remaining in the third, as the Rockets trailed 92-80, in favor of Jae'Sean Tate and Jeff Green to close out the third.
Aaron Holiday entered the game with 39.3 seconds remaining in the third, as the Rockets were down 99-86.
The Rockets entered the fourth quarter down 100-91, with Green on the bench at the start of the final period. The 21-year-old guard didn't re-enter the game until the 5:14 mark in the fourth, as he subbed back in for Tate, while the Rockets trailed 112-107.
In other words, Green easily spent 30 minutes in between the time he was pulled to the time he re-entered the contest, which drew the ire of many Rockets fans.
The problem? Green had the hot hand and was cold and out of rhythm upon re-entry. Green wasn't nearly as aggressive as he was in the second and third quarters, as he didn't even take a shot for roughly the next four minutes.
To many, Green should've been in the game in place of Tate down the stretch, who made defensive plays but is generally a dud on the offensive end.
It's believed that Udoka pulled Green due to his lack of defensive prowess. Granted, it's not surprising to see Green relegated to the bench for large chunks of the fourth quarter. In fact, we've seen this quite regularly.
Granted, we don't know specifically why Udoka has been sitting Green, as it's usually happened on nights that Green is struggling to make shots, which wasn't the case on Sunday.
Green had it going offensively in this match.
However, when Green came back in the game, he wasn't nearly as aggressive, as previously stated. In fact, it was quite the opposite, compared to the first half.
We'll never know exactly why Green was removed, but the fact that the Rockets trimmed a 12-point deficit to a five-point deficit in his absence makes it hard to question the decision.