NBA

Rockets win in coach Stephen Silas’ return after father’s death

Rockets win in coach Stephen Silas’ return after father’s death
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The Houston Rockets, in the return of coach Stephen Silas on Tuesday night, never trailed in a 111-97 win over the slumping Phoenix Suns.

Silas was back after missing the previous game following the death on Sunday of his father, longtime NBA player and coach Paul Silas.

« It was definitely great to be back, » Stephen Silas said. « I love these guys. I love this team. I kind of didn’t want the game to end because now it’s like real life starts up again. »

It was the second straight victory for the Rockets, who beat the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday night.

Silas was asked whether returning to work made things easier for him.

« I don’t know if it makes it easier or not, but my dad was a coach and he would tell me to coach, » Silas said. « Get your butt out there and coach. So that’s what I did. »

Jalen Green had 26 points, and Kevin Porter Jr. added 18. The Rockets led by as many as 23 and held a comfortable lead for most of the night.

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Already playing without Devin Booker (left hamstring tightness), the Suns, who dropped their fifth straight, didn’t have Deandre Ayton and Cameron Payne in the second half after both were injured before halftime. Ayton injured his left ankle, and Payne sustained a right foot injury.

Mikal Bridges led the Suns with 18 points but shot 4-of-24 from the field and 2-of-10 from 3-point range. He made all eight free-throw attempts. Chris Paul had 16 points on 5-of-17 shooting, including 2-of-10 on 3s.

The Rockets scored the game’s first seven points and led 54-35 after a first half in which the Suns made just 11 of 50 shots, including 4 of 24 3-pointers.

A 7-2 run by the Suns got them within 11 with about 7 1/2 minutes left in the game. Houston scored the next five points, capped by an off-balance tip-in for a three-point play by Garrison Mathews, to stretch the lead to 98-82.

Silas was emotional when speaking about his father before the game. He said he has been moved by the outpouring of support he has received since the death of father, who was 79.

« I’m very proud to be my dad’s son, » Stephen Silas said. « I’m very proud that people see him in me. And I want that to continue. Whenever it is my time comes, I want people to say the same things that they said about him over the last couple of days about [me]. And hopefully they’ll do that. »

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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