Smith Jr. offers hope amidst Rockets’ lackluster start


The bottom of the Western Conference is a tough place to find hope, but fans of the 8-18 Rockets have reasons to celebrate after Houston’s 97-92 victory over the Bucks on Sunday night. One reason is the play of rookie power forward Jabari Smith Jr. — also known as “The Locksmith.”

The box score is an imperfect way to evaluate the 19-year-old’s performance against the Bucks. 

Smith shot 1-for-9 from the field and scored six points. But he contributed on the defensive end, holding two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo to 16 points on 7-for-17 shooting. He also grabbed 10 rebounds. 

When Smith was the primary defender, Antetokounmpo shot 4-for-13 with two turnovers, per USA Today via PBPStats. 

The Rockets Twitter feed touted Smith’s defensive prowess.

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