NBA

Rocketsí Donatas Motiejūnas to make first career start on Wednesday

2/26/13 in NBA   |   BrianMaddock   |   1429 respect

After a shining performance in Saturday’s game against the Washington Wizards, forward Donatas Motiejūnas will make his first NBA start when the Houston Rockets host the Milwaukee Bucks at Toyota Center on Wednesday, coach Kevin McHale announced after practice today.
 
Previously, forward Patrick Patterson had been the Houston Rockets’ usual starter at the spot. But after Patrick Patterson was shipped off to the Sacramento Kings hours before the trade deadline, the dynamics of the Houston Rockets’ starting lineup promised to change. Veteran Carlos Delfino, who started the Houston Rockets’ at the No.4 spot, is expected to come off the bench again.
 
“I feel a lot of respect from coach and I respect him a lot for that,” said Donatas Motiejūnas. “I appreciate him for giving me a chance.”
 
Donatas Motiejūnas seems like a natural fit with the up-tempo basketball running, young Houston Rockets team. However, Kevin McHale hadn’t informed Donatas Motiejūnas of his promotion to the starting lineup, and Motiejunas only learnt of the good news through the reporters.
 
The 22-year-old Donatas Motiejūnas earned the starting job after several teams between Houston Rockets and the D-League during the course of the 2012 season. Most recently, Donatas Motiejūnas was demoted to the Houston Rockets’ D-League affiliates Rio Grande Vipers in mid-January, before being called up again on Jan 28. However, Donatas Motiejūnas usually volunteered for these assignments all in the name of improving his game.
 
“I was waiting for my chance,” said Donatas Motiejūnas. “I was working my ass off. And that’s how it was all my life. And that’s why I’m here.” 
 
The 2011 first round pick Donatas Motiejūnas played a season high 23 minutes in a 105-103 loss to Washington Wizards. Before Sunday, Donatas Motiejūnas had mostly been playing garbage minutes, so he made the most of the occasion, scoring 11 points, six rebounds, two assists, two and shooting 2-of-4 from beyond the arc against the Washington Wizards.
 
“Got a lot stronger…He’s gotten better. He’s really been diligent and he’s been patient. I know he really wanted to play earlier,” Kevin McHale said of Donatas Motiejūnas. “In fact, he’s one of the few guys who said put me down in the D-League, I want to play more. He just keeps working hard and he’s going to get his chance.”
 
Kevin McHale revealed that newly acquired forward Thomas Robinson and swingman Francisco Garcia are also set to play their Houston Rockets debut on Wednesday against the Milwaukee Bucks. But they still have a long way to go before making it to the starting lineup, since both just finished their second practice with the team and are still learning the Houston Rockets’ scheme. Bigman Tim Ohlbrecht, who signed with the Houston Rockets this week, could also play against the Milwaukee Bucks.
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