Donatas Motiejunas spent much of his first two seasons floating around the perimeter as a stretch-five, and the results weren't good. He couldn't hit 3-pointers consistently enough, and never had a consistent role as a result. He got that consistent role last season thanks to injuries to Dwight Howard and Terrence Jones, and took full advantage of the opportunity with the Rockets. Motiejunas parked himself on the block and turned into a post-up weapon, with the ability to run the pick and roll, pop out for a jumper or even pass if the double came. With Jones and Howard expected to be healthy to open the season, his role might be in question a bit, but Motiejunas showed enough last season to at least be worth a late-round pick on Draft Day.
Motiejunas turned in 14 points (5-11 FG, 2-3 3Pt, 2-2 FT), 13 rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block over 31 minutes in Thursday's 97-96 Game 3 victory over the Warriors. The 25-year-old sprung to life after a modest first two games of the series, with the double-double serving as his first of his injury-shortened season. Motiejunas was also encouragingly able to contribute from long range, adding a key dimension to a Rockets offense that typically relies an inordinate amount on James Harden. Contributions down low the likes of the ones put forth by Dwight Howard and Motiejunas on Thursday would undoubtedly go a long way in helping the Rockets remain competitive for the remainder of the season. The oft-injured four-year veteran will try to keep his positive momentum going in Sunday's Game 4 showdown.
Motiejunas will draw the start in Monday's matchup with the Warriors, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reports. Motiejunas played a reserve role in the series opener Saturday, as the Rockets opted to go with a smaller lineup against the Warriors. The Rockets have indicated that because of Motiejunas' quick decision making and ball movement he will return to the starting lineup Monday. The starting situation could be fluid going forward.
Motiejunas is expected to start Monday night's Game 2 against the Warriors, ESPN's Calvin Watkins reports. Motiejunas' promotion to Houston's starting lineup would follow an aggressive 12-minute cameo in which he posted eight points and two rebounds in Game 1. That production contrasted teammate Corey Brewer's 1-for-8 shooting performance, making Brewer the likely candidate to be replaced by Motiejunas in the Rockets' starting five Monday. In 22 starts over the course of the regular season, Motiejunas averaged 6.7 points and 3.5 rebounds while playing 15.7 minutes per game.
Motiejunas is in the starting lineup for Thursday's game against the Suns, Calvin Watkins of ESPN.com reports. Motiejunas didn't even see the floor during Wednesday's outing versus the Mavericks, as the Rockets decided to go small and started K.J. McDaniels at small forward in his place. Despite the recent DNP coach's decision on Wednesday, they've elected to move Motiejunas back into the starting lineup, although he'll likely still only see minutes in the high-teens-to-low-20's, which severely limits his fantasy potential.
Motiejunas didn't record a single minute of action during Wednesday's loss to the Mavericks. Things aren't looking good for Motiejunas, who found himself out of the starting lineup in favor of K.J. McDaniels and out of the rotation entirely by the time the buzzer sounded. It's been a rough season for the fourth-year Lithuanian, who has appeared in just 33 games this season and has failed to find any sort of consistency.
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Last 7 Games
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