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#pounditFriday, June 21, 2024

Ime Udoka had unique way of motivating Jalen Green for game against Lakers

Ime Udoka on the sideline

Oct 31, 2018; Phoenix, AZ, USA; San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Ime Udoka against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Ime Udoka apparently went full Coach Carter mode this week.

Young Houston Rockets guard Jalen Green turning into a fire-breathing dragon during Wednesday’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers. Green detonated for a season-high 28 points on a ridiculously-efficient 11-for-15 from the floor (including five three-pointers). He did all of his damage in three quarters too as the Rockets barbecued the Lakers by a 128-94 final.

After the beatdown, the Rockets head coach Udoka revealed the interesting way that he motivated Green ahead of the contest. Udoka said he reminded Green about Green’s situation with Team USA over the summer. Green was only able to make it to the USA Select Team while Lakers swingman Austin Reaves made it to the main roster for Team USA as they competed in the FIBA World Cup.

Udoka’s tactic clearly worked like a charm as Green had his best game of the season while Reaves finished with seven points on an ugly 2-for-9 from the field. Meanwhile, the win improved Houston to 4-3 on the season, bringing them back above .500 at long, long last after a span of over 1,000 days (Feb. 2021 was the last time that Houston had a winning record).

This year’s FIBA World Cup was held in the Philippines too, so the snub had to be particularly bitter for Green, who is part-Filipino. Credit to Udoka for finding a way to channel his bitterness into an opportunity for revenge (and allowing Green to become the latest player to go after Reaves on the court).

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