THE COUCH SLOUCH

23 observations on sports and media you won't want to miss

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These are 23 (more) facts, tried and true, about the widening world of sports television:

1. They say that nobody gets out alive – I assume they are referring to ESPN's First Take.

2. Every time I go to the Cheesecake Factory, I can't believe how long the wait is – the food's good, but not that good. College football on TV is sort of the same thing.

3. I would compare Norman Esiason's 18-year run on CBS's The NFL Today favorably with J. Edgar Hoover's 37-year run as FBI director.

4. Here's the thing about ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball: It's unwatchable and unlistenable, which, put in layman's terms, means it's hard to watch and hard to listen to.

5. All I do is tell people to watch more bowling on TV, and all people do is ignore me.

6. I wanted to invite ESPN's Jeremy Schaap and his wife Joclyn over for dinner recently, but we couldn't rent a butler in time.

7. Fellow Terp Scott Van Pelt is so good on SportsCenter, I almost forgive him his blind spot on University of Maryland athletics.

8. Bob Costas is growing on me.

(Column Intermission I: Virtually completing our descent into cultural hell, cbssports.com's Chris Trapasso now offers regular power rankings of NFL practice-squad players. This is likely the final piece in the puzzle for the fast-growing NFL practice-squad fantasy sports industry. For the record, Cardinals quarterback Kyle Sloter – boy, the kid's got great arm talent and eye discipline – currently is ranked No. 1.)

9. If it's all about "launch angle," I suspect Albert Einstein would've been an incredible baseball GM and sports bettor.

10. I always read Barstool Sports' website while on the can to cut out the middleman.

11. One day FS1's Doug Gottlieb will say something that I write down, and when I look at it a bit later, I'll actually think, "Yeah, that makes sense."

12. If Woodstock had morphed into an annual music festival, I'm guessing Joe Lunardi would have another specialty.

13. I understand that MTV doesn't show music videos anymore, but how come every time I turn on the Golf Channel to watch a golf tournament, they're not showing any golf?

14. I hate to state the obvious, but why wouldn't the NFL consider Tuesday Night Football and Wednesday Night Football as well?

15. It is a statistical improbability that no one from esports, cornhole or darts telecasts has called me to provide commentary.

16. The day that synchronized swimming incorporates replay challenges, I'll know it's all but over.

(Column Intermission II: Here is verbatim analysis from Alex Rodriguez during a recent Phillies-Mets game on ESPN: "You always want even leads, versus odd leads. Why? The solo home run doesn't tie it and the grand slam does not beat you." I don't know where to start, so I won't.)

17. In medieval times, every town had a village idiot. Now, there is FS1's Speak for Yourself.

18. While in the middle of a recent appearance on The Dan Patrick Show, NBC's Peter King was ticketed for talking on his cellphone while driving. Actually, I think the cop gave King a ticket for polluting the airwaves.

19. Toni and I never argue over who gets the clicker because we can never find it.

20. I'd bet Jeremy Schaap's last Argyle sock that one day there will be a sports betting show on TV called, No Gamble No Future.

21. 7-Eleven never closes, which makes me wonder if the place ever gets cleaned up really good; I worry about ESPN in the same way.

22. TMZ Sports? Uh, no.

23. Perhaps you could cite my own self-interest in this matter and perhaps I am wrong, but I firmly believe that poker on TV saves lives.

Ask The Slouch

Q. So the Jaguars, your NFL Team of Destiny, now have Gardner Minshew, the "Stache" at Washington State, starting at quarterback. As the "Stache" in the sports writing community, how do you figure this will turn out? (Steve Hintyesz; Spokane, Wash.)

A. I have known about Minshew ever since meeting him at a mustache mixer in 2018. He is destined for greatness and the Jags are still destined for Super Bowl 54.

Q. Does Odell Beckham Jr. wearing a $190,000 watch during games offend you? (Radu Marinescu; Glendale, Ariz.)

A. Critics fail to realize that, by wearing a watch during games, Beckham is the only one on the field to know the time of day after every play.

Q. Sam Darnold out with mononucleosis? Really? (Ben Whitman; St. Petersburg, Fla.)

A. It's an odd ailment attached commonly to New York Jets quarterbacks – didn't Joe Namath have mono after kissing Suzy Kolber?

Q. Historically, which has been the greater jinx: Appearing on a Sports Illustrated cover or being selected as the Couch Slouch Team of Destiny? "Doc" Scoville; Fairfax, Va.)

A. Listen, pal, I have overcome the jinx of working for Sports Illustrated to be here today, of almost sound mind and body.

You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just email asktheslouch@aol.com and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!

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ROCKETS BEAT THUNDER

Rockets blast Thunder in home opener, 124-91

Rockets take care of business in home opener. Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets had an impressive outing versus the Oklahoma City Thunder after an embarrassing loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday night. They took care of business at home on Friday night, which was a surprising blowout. The Rockets didn't have to worry about Karl-Anthony Towns screaming at Alperen Sengun or Anthony Edwards telling Coach Silas to call a timeout. Instead, they took their frustrations out on the Thunder (another younger core).

"We responded and bounced back from that game 1," Silas said. "I wouldn't say it was taking anything out. It was just learning and applying to what you learn and that's going to be us this year. Applying to what you learn and getting better and having some games like we had the other day. Veteran teams have some games when they don't play as well they want."

Christian Wood led the way, as he controlled the paint on all aspects with rebounding and putbacks. He played an incredible game after having a poor performance versus the Timberwolves. Silas showed complete trust in allowing Wood to open sets, as he walked the ball down the court several times, and in transition too. Wood became aggressive on the perimeter with open shooting and tough shots, and long strides towards the rim. He finished the night with 31 points and 13 rebounds off 66 percent shooting from the field.

The young core for the Thunder had a tough night defending Wood from every aspect. Hopefully, he keeps this play up. Silas loved the space that was created throughout the game for Wood, which included the help from Eric Gordon, as he continued to play better. Wood continues to develop underneath the Silas umbrella. He had a great feel for off-the-dribble shooting a few times. Wood becomes more dangerous when space is created on the court.

"It allows me to show what I can do. It allows the floor to be open and I can create for other guys and create for myself," Wood said.

As Gordon continues to impress, his teammate Kevin Porter Jr was amazed with his performance.

Gordon looked marvelous inside and outside of the paint, as it looked like a time ripple. The younger guards of the Thunder had a tough time staying in front of Gordon. His size and strength gave the Thunder a huge problem. Gordon is shooting the ball better too, as he is shooting the three-ball at 70 percent this season. Although it's a small sample size, Gordon is trying to overcome his shooting struggles from last year. Gordon finished with 22 points on 66 percent shooting versus the Thunder.

"EG is the biggest part of this squad," Porter said. He comes in and just scores. We need somebody off the bench to do that. He is our guy when me and J come out, it's EG time and he knows that, and comes in aggressive. So much energy on the bench, and we need that every night from him if we want a chance to win."

As I recently mentioned Porter, his facilitation did look better versus the Thunder than the Timberwolves. Porter had nine turnovers in his first game but managed to have two Friday night. He made great slip passes and found open teammates in the open corner. Porter forced a good number of passes versus the Timberwolves but looked more relaxed Friday night. The hardest position in the NBA is the point guard position, but Silas will not allow Porter to fail. Instead of nine turnovers, Porter dished out nine assists. Silas said:

"Bounce back right, going from nine turnovers to nine assists… I think he had two turnovers tonight, which is great. He is making plays for his teammates, and he was really focused."

Porter's shiftiness and creative ability allowed his teammates to get open looks near the rim. He had 18 points because of his step-back threes and first step going towards the basket. Thankfully, Porter is a great ball handler, which confuses defenders on different spots on the court. It's almost like watching a ballerina skate on ice in the Olympics. Hopefully, his confidence continues to get better throughout the year. Porter shot the three-ball at 50 percent tonight. Efficiency is key for Porter this year.

"I'm just trying to let the game slow down," Porter said. "I had a lot of turnovers last game and I just wanted to piggyback and learn from them and learn from some of my forced passes and reads. And sometimes I still force it a little bit. My guys hate that, and sometimes I'm still passive and I'm working on that. When to pass and score and bounce it out, and tonight I felt like I did a good job of that."

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