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#pounditSaturday, February 4, 2023

Rockets downplay sideline confrontation between Jalen Green, Jabari Smith Jr.

Jalen Green and Jabari Smith Jr. arguing

The Houston Rockets are trying to write off Monday night’s sideline incident as a nothingburger.

In the fourth quarter of Houston’s win over the Utah Jazz, teammates Jalen Green and Jabari Smith Jr. had a heated argument during a timeout huddle. The two traded words and got in each other’s faces before being separated.

The incident, which took place with just 26.8 seconds left in the game and Houston nursing a two-point lead, did not appear to affect their composure. Smith proceeded to hit four clutch free throws in the closing seconds, and the Rockets won 114-108 for their first victory of the season.

After the game, Green and Smith, two young stars who went to Houston with top-three picks in back-to-back years, both downplayed the incident. Green called the spat “nothing at all.”

The rookie Smith also dismissed the tiff as nothing to write home about.

“We were just competing, ironing some things out, like what coverage we were going to be in,” he said, per Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. “That was it.”

Sideline arguments between teammates happen all the time in the heat of competition. What is most important is that Houston pulled out the victory over a previously undefeated Jazz team. But the Green-Smith relationship will be something to keep an eye on throughout the season as the Rockets have some other combustible characters in their locker room too.

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