Since the conclusion of the 2021 NBA Draft, Filipino fans have been highly anticipating the clash of compatriots between reigning Sixth Man of the Year Jordan Clarkson of the Utah Jazz and this year’s second overall pick Jalen Green of the Houston Rockets.
The league is granting Pinoys an early treat as the Rockets will host the Jazz on Thursday, October 28 (Friday, October 29, 8 am Manila time) with a special Filipino Heritage Night celebration.
All fans in attendance at the Rockets’ Toyota Center home arena will receive a Jalen Green t-shirt, while ticket sales will partially go to the Philippine Sports Association of Texas.
The 19-year-old Green, who recently came off a historic 30-point, 8-triple game, tries to find his groove in the big league with averages of 14.5 points on 39% shooting and 40% from three, on top of 4.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.0 steal and 0.8 blocks.
Meanwhile, Clarkson has picked up where he left off as the league’s top reserve with norms of 17.3 points on 42% shooting, to go with 3.0 rebounds and 1.3 assists in just 24.7 minutes per game.
While the numbers of the two 6-foot-5 guards are not far off from one another, the trajectories of their teams are anything but similar.
The Jazz, who finished as the first seed in the Western Conference last season with a 52-20 record, are looking for a bounce-back playoff run after getting booted out of the second round by a Los Angeles Clippers squad playing without Kawhi Leonard.
On the other hand, the Rockets came off a league-worst 17-55 slate to land the right to select Green in the off-season’s draft, and are still on a rebuilding phase following the controversial exit by former MVP James Harden.
So far, both teams’ plans are going well as the Jazz are still undefeated this year with a 3-0 record, while the Rockets have youngsters like Green, Christian Wood, and Kevin Porter Jr. taking over with heavy minutes as they try to rise from a 1-3 start.
On Filipino Heritage Night, however, things may momentarily shift if Green and the Rockets gain the urge to make a statement, and stage an upset over one of the league’s three remaining unbeaten teams.
But surely, Clarkson and the star-studded Jazz would want nothing more than to keep their record untainted for as long as possible while they continue their pursuit for the franchise’s first-ever NBA championship. – Rappler.com