Somewhere, Vernon Maxwell is smiling, and it's all because the Houston Rockets beat the Utah Jazz. The 114-108 contest was a first for both teams. It was the Rockets' first win and the Jazz's first loss of the season.
Unsurprisingly, the Rockets' dynamic backcourt partnership of Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr. led the way. Porter scored 26 points on 8 of 19 shooting and chipped in 10 rebounds and 4 assists. Green impressed as well on Filipino Heritage night (Green has Filipino ancestry through his mother), dropping 25 points on 9 of 16 shooting.
The game was a sloppy affair, and at times looked like an NCAA tournament game. The Rockets missed a concerning number of putbacks and shots at the rim in the first half, but the Jazz's cold 3-point shooting prevented the Rockets from being punished.
The night also saw the Rockets start the game with Jabari Smith Jr. at center. Smith played power forward in the first three games, but with Bruno Fernando and Alperen Sengun out with injuries, the Rockets decided to utilize Smith at center to counteract the Jazz's stretch front court.
The early defensive returns were mixed, but Smith's abilities on the perimeter cleared the lane for Green and Porter's drives. Don't expect Smith at center to be a constant, but it's a good wrinkle to have if the matchup calls for it.
The win was much needed for the Rockets after dropping their first three games and facing a daunting upcoming schedule. The Jazz will likely chalk this a scheduled loss after winning their first three games. They played last night in New Orleans and beat the Pelicans in overtime.
The Rockets next game will see them head to Salt Lake City to face the Jazz once again. The game is Wednesday at 8:00 p.m. central time.