After losing 15 straight games, the Rockets have now won two in a row and the turnaround started with a lineup change, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Free agent addition Daniel Theis, who had been the starting center, hasn’t played the last two games as coach Stephen Silas opted for a smaller starting lineup with Christian Wood in the middle. Wood set two career highs this week with six assists Wednesday and 33 points Saturday.
“We’re moving the ball, we’re taking open shots and we’re making shots,” Silas said after Saturday’s win over Charlotte. “How many games in a row did we shoot under 30% from three? We shot 47 (percent) tonight. Part of it is playing Armoni (Brooks) a little bit more, playing Garrison (Mathews) a little bit more. But also having some space out there so we can get our drive-and-kicks. Once a few go, you get a lot more confident about shooting your shots. Pretty confident shooting right now.”
There’s more from Houston:
- Another part of the new lineup is Mathews, who was claimed off waivers before the start of the season and given a two-way contract, Feigen adds. With Jalen Green sidelined by a strained hamstring, Mathews made his first start Saturday and provided 20 points while going 5-of-9 from three-point range. “He’s showing up when his name is called,” Wood said. “That’s all you can ask for a guy like that. He’s shooting the ball great. I told him, whenever he sees the rim and he’s open, let it go. Same with Armoni Brooks. Whenever those two guys see it, shoot it. Don’t hesitate. Don’t try to take a dribble. Just shoot it. That’s what you’re on the floor for. That’s what you’re great at.”
- Silas told reporters that he hasn’t talked to John Wall about his interest in starting to play again, Feigen states in a separate story. Wall spoke to general manager Rafael Stone on Friday, and another meeting is planned today. According to Feigen, it will focus on what Wall’s role might be on a team that remains committed to its young backcourt. “Being around John and him working out all the time and him being around the team and him being the competitor that he is, John just being John, of course you know that he is itching (to play),” Silas said. “As far as a conversation between he and I as far as him wanting to come back, no.”
- Saturday’s game against the Hornets was special for Silas, who still feels a strong connection to the organization after spending 10 years there as an assistant coach, Feigen adds in another piece.