What has been the catalyst for the Rockets' sudden success?
Jalen Green vs Portland Trail Blazers

After Alperen Sengun’s injury, many players have stepped up their game to go on an impressive winning run which has come at the perfect time as the team approaches the later stages of the season. 

These are some of the in-form players on a highly motivated Rockets side who have improved in recent weeks. 

Jalen Green 

Jalen Green has been making waves with his recent brilliant performances and rapid improvement, bringing hope for the future of the franchise. 

Throughout the season, Green has been a consistent contributor for the Rockets, averaging an impressive 19.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game. However, it's his recent improvement in form that has helped the Rockets reach success. 

Since mid-March, the American guard has been in great form, showcasing his scoring prowess with a group of standout performances. He has scored no fewer than 26 points in any game during this stretch, including impressive outings such as two 37-point games, a 41-point game, and a 42-point masterpiece against the Washington Wizards. Green drained seven three-pointers in that game, highlighting his lethal shooting from beyond the arc. 

One of the most noticeable improvements in the 22-year-old's game has been his three-point shooting, as he has increased his accuracy to an impressive 45%. This change in efficiency has come from Green's increased confidence and reduced hesitation which allows him to trust his instincts and score more often. 

Beyond his scoring prowess, the 22-year-old's strength and agility have enabled him to create opportunities for himself and his teammates. With his lower body strength, Green can make sudden changes in direction to create space for his shot or a well-placed pass. His ability to stretch the floor and draw defenders out of the paint has opened up driving lanes, where he can use his athleticism to make finishes at the rim. 

However, he is not without his flaws as he can be prone to forcing shots in traffic, leading to low-percentage attempts and even turnovers. His consistency has been an area of concern, with occasional dips in scoring output and efficiency. 

Despite these challenges, Green's recent performances have given him confidence in his ability to impact games and lead the Rockets to success. If he can maintain his current level of play, there's no doubt that Green will be a huge part of Houston's push for a spot in the play-in tournament. 

Amen Thompson 

Since his selection as the fourth overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, Amen Thompson has emerged as a rising star by making a big impact on his team. Under the guidance of head coach Ime Udoka, Thompson's talent has earned him increased playing time as a regular starter. 

With impressive stats averaging 9.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.2 steals per game, Thompson has already proven himself to be a versatile contributor on the court. However, it's his recent improvement in performance that highlights his potential. With more minutes, Thompson showcased his ability. He recorded a stellar 25 points and 15 rebounds in just 39 minutes of play in a recent game against the Thunder

Thompson's importance to his team has become even more evident in the absence of key players like Sengun due to injury. His ability to grab rebounds at a high rate has been instrumental in maintaining the team's competitiveness on the court. 

What sets Thompson apart is his brilliant athletic ability which allows him to navigate the court with ease. His agility and quickness enable him to move past defenders and his explosiveness allows him to elevate for powerful dunks with little momentum. 

With his blend of athleticism, skill, and work ethic, he is expected to make an even greater impact in the league in the upcoming seasons. If he continues evolving at a similar rate as he is now, the Rockets could reach the play-ins and make a surprising run in the playoffs. 

Fred VanVleet 

Fred VanVleet is an experienced point guard for the Rockets who continues to prove his worth as a key asset to his team. With his versatility and basketball IQ, VanVleet consistently makes significant contributions on the court. 

Averaging 16.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, and a career-high 8.1 assists per game, VanVleet has emerged as a reliable scorer and playmaker. Despite his smaller stature, he utilizes his quick hands to hold up opponents' dribbling and steal the ball for fast breaks and easy points. 

He is unselfish and able to find open teammates. He excels as a facilitator, using eye contact and fakes to manipulate defenders and create scoring opportunities for his teammates. VanVleet's ability to make eye contact with teammates and confuse defenders gives players time to make decisions, whether it's taking an open shot or finding another teammate in a better position. 

In recent weeks, VanVleet has also stepped up and improved his game, delivering standout performances that showcase his talent. Against the Utah Jazz, he scored 34 points and made seven assists while making ten shots from beyond the arc. In a high-assist game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, VanVleet had 16 assists while also contributing 13 points of his own. 

The 30-year-old serves as a leader and role model for the team's young core both on and off the court. His ability to elevate his game when it matters shows his importance to the team's success and could help them in the upcoming months if he remains injury-free. 

Dillon Brooks 

Dillon Brooks has emerged as a key contributor for the Houston Rockets this season, showcasing his aggression and physicality on the court. Averaging 13 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game, Brooks brings an aggressive style of play that disrupts opposing teams' momentum. 

His constant defence and physicality make him a formidable player and frustrates opponents which disrupts their offensive flow. Brooks' ability to get under the skin of key players on the other team adds value to the Rockets' style of play. 

In addition to his defensive work, Brooks has also proven to be a reliable scorer with notable performances including a 23-point game against the Bulls where he shot an impressive 10 for 13 from the field. He also had a 20-point game against the OKC Thunder

As a player who thrives on intensity and toughness, the 28-year-old offers a competitive spirit that the Rockets value. His presence on the court not only boosts the team's defensive efforts but also sets the tone for their overall performances. In a league where mental toughness is crucial, having a player like Dillon Brooks can be a game-changer for Houston. 

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