It’s not often that Donatas Motiejunas leads the Houston Rockets in scoring, especially considering that James Harden usually leads the way for the team.
But Motiejunas was more than happy to lead the way for the Rockets in Wednesday’s 111-81 victory over the Phoenix Suns. Motiejunas and the Rockets avenged a loss to the Phoenix earlier in the week.
The Rockets had six players in double figures. That’s obviously tough to beat for any team. Motiejunas led the way, but with just 19 points. Still, it was a solid game for him and one of his better ones since coming to the NBA. He put in a solid 27-plus minutes with 7-of-12 shooting from the floor, including 2-of-4 in 3-pointers and 3-of-4 in free-throw performances.
He also had five rebounds and two assists. Those were good and encouraging numbers for Motiejunas, who was averaging 48 points a game in 27 outings for the Rockets. It was a season-high in scoring for him, but he showed his true potential as a point producer.
Wednesday’s game had to be enjoyable for coach Kevin McHale to watch. His team improved to 35-30 as he continues to try getting the Rockets ready for the playoffs. They have to worry about securing a postseason bid first, and then start mapping strategy to have success.
Seeing a player like Motiejunas score 19 and takes care of the load from someone like Harden can be nothing but encouraging. McHale doesn’t want his playoff opponents in the first round to spend all of their time defending Harden, and not have to worry about anyone else.