Sunday, May 29 2022

One bright spot for the Houston Rockets in the 2021-22 season has been the energy of reserve forward KJ Martin. Not only does he play above the rim, but he is also learning where to be on the offensive side of the court so his teammates can set him up for easier shots.

That was evident in Friday’s game versus Portland when made 8-of-11 shots (72.7%) on his way to a season-high 17 points, with 15 coming in the second half of a 125-110 loss. Martin’s energy helped Houston climb back into the game before the rally ultimately ran out of steam.

Martin, 21, has become one of the first names called off the bench by Stephen Silas, and he has been productive in that role once he relieves starting forward Jae’Sean Tate. The second-year forward, who was has made 20-of-27 shots (74.1%) over his last three games and is averaging 14.6 points and 5.0 rebounds in 25.5 minutes per game.

If any accolades are to be handed out, Martin would rather they be given to his teammates, rather than to himself.

We have a good amount of guys I played with last season. Going through training camp and this season, I have figured out where everyone is going to be and finding my spots. The bench unit I play with, we try to come in and play defense and keep the energy that the first group brings us. That is a big thing for us, and a big thing for the future.

The Rockets will need all the energy they can get as Golden State comes to town on Monday. Houston recently lost to the Warriors on a Steph Curry buzzer-beater in the final game of a five-game road trip.

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