Kevin Porter Supernova.
No one is as surprised as we are.
The 15-47 Rockets beat the 38-23 Bucks 143-136 powered by an insane FIFTY(!) point game from twenty year old Kevin Porter Jr. (He’ll be 21 in a few days, but he’s still 20.)
It’s one of the best performances by a player twenty years or younger not just in Rockets history, but in NBA history. Other similar outbursts were from the likes of players you may have heard of: Lebron James, Devin Booker, and, um, Brandon Jennings. Porter’s game in terms of contribution and efficiency probably rates ahead of Booker, and about on par with James’.
Porter didn’t just score a bunch, he was efficient, going 16-26, 9-11 from the free throw line and 9-15 (a cool 60%) from three point range. Oh, and he threw in eleven assists, five rebounds and one block.
That’s…pretty good, especially for a player the Rockets got essentially for free. Porter’s last game was execrable, this one was unforgettable, especially the two consecutive made step back three point shots to take the lead back in the game after a Milwaukee rally. Whatever you might have thought about him before, his incredible upside is now evident.
Not only was Porter amazing, but Christian Wood contributed one of his best games of the season with 31pts on 10-21 shooting (6-10 from three) and nine boards, four assists, one steal and one block.
The Y, Kelly Olynyk also chipped in 24pts, 13 rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block. His energy and relentless toughness have been a revelation.
Lost in the glare of Porter’s breakout night is the DJ Wilson Revenge game. Wilson arguably had the best outing of his career, notching 15 points and 11 rebounds in 25 minutes. He played hard on defense and generally looked like an NBA player.
Bucks supporters can complain that reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounpo left the game after a minute, due to either lack of interest or a rolled ankle. Given that the Rockets were missing no less than nine players, including their top two highest paid players in John Wall and Eric Gordon, and all their putative point guards, it’s tough to work up much sympathy for the Bucks.
If you lose to Christian Wood, Kevin Porter Jr, Kelly Olynyk, DJ Wilson and JaeSean Tate, well you lost to Christian Wood, Kevin Porter Jr, Kelly Olynyk, DJ Wilson and JaeSean Tate. You have only yourselves to blame, Bucks. And Kevin Porter Jr! Who just made another three in Brook Lopez’ face.
Milwaukee’s best player (in my opinion), Jrue Holiday, tried to guide the Bucks to a win after they spent most of the game loafing around, as he notched 29pts, 10 assists and a startling 4 blocks. But it was not to be, Porter wouldn’t be denied, and the Rockets did just enough to win a 143-136 game that saw 85, that’s right 85, three pointers attempted and 41 made for a robust 48% overall three point percentage.
In other news, this game might help the Rockets with the picks they’re meant to get from Milwaukee. Every little Bucks loss helps.
This game was a real palate cleanser for downtrodden Rockets fans, and players. Kevin Porter might not be a keystone of the next great Rockets team. But he could be.
He really could be.