Houston Rockets big man Alperen Sengun gets a rare encore performance on the road when he and his mates duel the host Sacramento Kings in a rematch Friday night.
While most in attendance were watching Sacramento’s Domantas Sabonis pursue a 22nd career triple-double, Sengun snatched a very first of his own with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in the Rockets’ 135-115 loss in the California capital on Wednesday.
Sabonis failed on his bid to triple-up, going for 25 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists, but joined with Sacramento’s own surprise contributor — Trey Lyles — to rally the Kings from a fourth-quarter deficit to a win not nearly as one-sided as the final score might indicate.
Paced by Sengun, the Rockets led by as many as eight and 101-100 with 8:44 to go before Lyles had 12 points in the Kings’ 35-14, game-ending flurry.
While the defeat went down simply as an eighth straight for the Rockets, it proved historic for Sengun, who at age 20 became the youngest in franchise history to record a triple-double.
He also was the first Rockets center to post a triple-double since Hakeem Olajuwon in 1997.
“Of course it was my goal. I was always thinking (about it),” he admitted afterward. “I’m happy, but I’m sad we lost.”
The most surprising aspect of the triple-double was the assist total. The second-year Turkish import had never had more than eight in an NBA game.
His teammates helped out by shooting 45.8 percent as a team and connecting on 16-for-41 from beyond the arc. Jalen Green had 26 points, while KJ Martin (9-for-13, 21 points) and Eric Gordon (6-for-12, 19 points) combined for 40 points on 15-for-25 shooting.
It wasn’t enough to offset a huge disparity in free-throw attempts. The Kings outscored the guests 26-11 at the line, getting 14 more attempts (31-17).
Sabonis led the way to the charity stripe, going 7-for-9. He got his biggest support in the scoring column from De’Aaron Fox with 24 points and Lyles with 20.
Sabonis, who is tied for third in the NBA in triple-doubles with three, missed another by one assist for the second time this season. He’s also come up one rebound short on another occasion.
He insisted afterward that he wasn’t bothered by it.
“It’s fine, as long as we win. That’s the goal,” he said. “These things come with the game. The next game, as long as we get the win, we’re happy.”
The Rockets would be happy to get Kevin Porter Jr. back for the rematch. He had five points, three rebounds, three assists and a steal in just 10 minutes before suffering a bruised left foot in Wednesday’s game.
He wasn’t around for the Kings’ late rally, and remains questionable for Friday.
Porter was coming off a 25-point outing in a loss Sunday to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Sacramento played the opener of the set without Kevin Huerter, out with an illness. The Kings hope to have him back for the rematch.
–Field Level Media