Houston Rockets

Rockets center Tarik Black embracing major role

Published 12:29 pm, Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Other than mop-up minutes late in routs, Rockets center Tarik Black had played little for several weeks. Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni gave him some first-half playing time in Atlanta Nov. 3 to try to help keep him sharp, but with Nene playing as Clint Capela’s backup, Black generally had been working to stay sharp between games before he was among the group that checked in when they had already been decided.

 With Nene out on Sunday and again tonight when the Rockets face the Toronto Raptors with a sprained right foot, Black will have a more significant role. But it did not take long on Sunday for the Rockets to welcome him to the rotation.

 Black was on the floor for 13 seconds in Sunday’s first quarter before James Harden found him with an alley oop that Black slammed with a one-hand catch and finish. Little could have knocked off any rust more quickly.

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 “When you get a feel for it, it definitely puts you in a better groove, especially in that facet,” Black said. “That was a nice lob, a nice pass to be recognized that way. It catches your rhythm for the rest of the game. That was just a pick-and-roll. James found me. It was a beautiful thing.”

 Black made all four of his shots in his 16 minutes off the Rockets bench. He does not have enough attempts to qualify to be considered among the league leaders, but has made 76.9 percent of his attempts this season. Capela is the official league-leader, making 69.6 percent.

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