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Payton II Continues To Impress In Rockets Win Over Kings

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In abbreviated court-time, Gary Payton II still managed to chip in 5 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists in Houston's 85-73 win over Sacramento.

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

From the start, it was evident that this was going to be a different kind of game for Gary Payton II.

While Payton II looked "comfortable and confident" in his Las Vegas NBA Summer League debut back on Friday night, posting 3 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists in 22 minutes of action, on Sunday afternoon in Sin City, the former Oregon State star looked like he had more in the arsenal that he was just waiting to show off. Heeding advice from his NBA Hall of Fame father Gary Payton, who told NBA TV in a mid-game interview that he implored his son to "be more aggressive", the younger Payton looked to be playing with something to prove from the start, as he helped his Houston team to a 85-73 victory over Sacramento.

After scoring one of the easiest baskets of his basketball career with a quick slam off the opening tip of the game, Payton II continued his more attacking start throughout the first half, working not only to involve teammates but to also find his own scoring touch as well. Payton II took four of the first five shots of the game for Houston, as more experienced teammates in Sam Dekker, Montrezl Harrell and K.J. McDaniels, deferred to the 6' 3" guard offensively early on.

Payton II continued to play with a downhill mentality throughout the remainder of the first half, using his defensive prowess to both force turnovers and alter the offensive efficiency of the Kings when he was on the floor. The reigning two-time Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year also showed how his impact on defense could turn into easy "highlight-reel" offense for the Rockets, as he set up the aforementioned Harrell on a monster alley-oop slam mid-way through the second quarter.

While Payton II headed into the halftime break with 5 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and one steal in just under 11 minutes of action, it's unknown if the Rockets' guard was told he would not be in the second half plans for Houston on this day. The team favored the likes of Isaiah Taylor (Texas), Kenny Gaines (Georgia) and Trey Freeman (Old Dominion) in the backcourt during the final two quarters, a move that likely signaled a chance to see some different faces on the floor than any sort of dissatisfaction with Payton II's performance.

Luckily for Rockets and Oregon State fans alike, it won't be long to see the former Beavers standout in action again for Houston, as Payton II and his teammates will be in action again on Monday night (July 11th) against the NBA D-League Select team at 6:00 PM ET. The game will be played at Cox Pavilion on the UNLV campus and will be televised on NBA TV.