Rockets Roll, 122-90

3-pointers from Rockets game 1 versus Utah Jazz

Houston Rockets/Facebook

The fourth seeded Houston Rockets began their 2019 postseason campaign Sunday night against the fifth seeded Utah Jazz just slightly before the entire planet had wrapped up watching the Game of Thrones season premiere. Houston dominated early and often throughout the contest, with the only real threat coming as Utah had driven the lead down to 8 points in the second. The Rockets would regroup however and cruise to a 122-90 blowout. Houston leads the best of seven series, 1-0

Not tired yet

James Harden has been the subject of ridicule in the past few seasons for fading in the playoffs due to his regular season usage. That narrative held little weight Sunday night as Harden erupted for 29 points 10 assists and 8 rebounds. Harden was able to get any shot he wanted, which then forced Jazz players to leave their assignments to try and help out. When that happened, Harden would kick the ball out to the resulting open teammate for a wide open look.

Help from all over

Throughout the majority of the 2019 campaign, Harden has been the lone scoring threat which has lead to some lopsided box scores in terms of point distribution. Sunday night was a trend in a different direction, as seven Rockets posted double digit scoring performances. Eric Gordon was second behind Harden with 17, followed by Clint Capela with 16, Chris Paul with 14, and PJ Tucker, Kenneth Faried, and Danuel House Jr. each with 11.

Ice Cold

While the Rockets fired fired off a cool 15-41 from beyond the arc, The Utah Jazz simply couldn't buy a bucket out there Sunday night. Though a top ten team in three-point shooting percentage throughout the regular season, Utah was anything but in game one as the went 7-27 from three. Having an off night from deep is something Houston fans can relate to as being a momentum killer, and when facing a Rockets team that is knocking their shots down with the volume they maintain it becomes very hard to keep up.

Rockets Player of the Game

James Harden: 29 points, 10 assists, 8 rebounds, 1 block

Jazz Player of the Game

Rudy Gobert: 22 points, 1 assist, 12 rebounds, 1 block

Next up

The Rockets play game two against the Utah Jazz on Wednesday, 4/17 at 8:30 pm central.

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Houston now trails in the fall classic

Astros fall in World Series Game 1 as Braves come out swinging

Framber Valdez had a forgettable start in World Series Game 1 as the Braves tagged him with five runs. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

After a dominant end to win the ALCS and American League pennant, the Houston Astros welcomed in the National League champion Atlanta Braves for World Series Game 1 at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday. With Houston favored to win not just this game but the entire series, the Braves shook up those expectations by finding early success at the plate to build a lead they would hold to take a 1-0 series lead.

Final Score: Braves 6, Astros 2

World Series (Best of Seven): Atlanta leads 1-0

Winning Pitcher: A.J. Minter

Losing Pitcher: Framber Valdez

Valdez unable to replicate ALCS Game 5 success as Braves mount early lead

For the optimist, not having home-field advantage in an MLB postseason series affords you a benefit: you can score first and take captive momentum first in the series. The Braves did that against Framber Valdez, as Jorge Soler became the first player in league history to hit a homer in the first plate appearance of a World Series, putting Atlanta out to an immediate 1-0 lead. They would get another in the first frame, getting a one-out infield single by Ozzie Albies, who would steal second to get in position for an RBI double by Austin Riley.

Houston had the chance to respond in their first inning against former teammate Charlie Morton, getting a single and two walks to load the bases with no outs. They'd strand all three runners, though, as Morton made it through unscathed but having used 26 pitches. Atlanta kept putting stress on Valdez, extending their lead to three runs with back-to-back singles to start the second before later getting an RBI groundout.

Valdez gave up two more in the top of the third, once again allowing a leadoff single, this one setting up a two-run homer to make it a 5-0 Braves lead and forcing Houston's starter out of the game early. Yimi Garcia entered and was able to retire the three batters he faced to end the frame.

Braves lose Morton to injury as both bullpens begin long night

After stranding the bases loaded in the bottom of the first to keep the Astros off the board, Morton followed it up with a 1-2-3 second. He started the bottom of the third by retiring his fifth batter in a row, getting a strikeout of Jose Altuve. He would immediately call trainers to get him out of the game, though, as he would later be diagnosed with a fractured fibula, presumably from a ball that ricocheted off his leg in the prior inning, ending his season in a disappointing turn of events for the Braves.

That set up a long night for both bullpens, and next up for Houston was Jake Odorizzi. He started with a scoreless fourth, working around a two-out error to keep it a five-run game. The Astros began a rally in the bottom of the fourth, getting runners on the corners with one out on a Kyle Tucker double and Yuli Gurriel single. Chas McCormick brought in the first run of the board for Houston, but that's all they would get as Atlanta's lead remained four runs.

Astros drop Game 1

Odorizzi kept going on the mound, tossing a 1-2-3 fifth, then getting one out before a one-out single in the top of the sixth would prompt Dusty Baker to move on to Phil Maton, who finished the inning. Maton returned in the top of the seventh, getting a strikeout before a double and a walk would result in the call to bring in Ryne Stanek.

A double play against his first batter allowed Stanek to finish the seventh, and then he returned in the eighth. He faced three batters that frame, getting one out before a walk and a single would put runners on the corners as Houston moved on to Brooks Raley. A sac fly by Freddie Freeman off of Raley made it a five-run lead again, but a leadoff triple by Yordan Alvarez in the bottom of the inning would set up Carlos Correa for an RBI, a groundout to make it 6-2.

Atlanta's bullpen continued to do well, though, limiting the damage to that one run in the eighth, then returning to hold on to the four-run lead in the bottom of the ninth to give the Braves the upset win to start the series. The loss extends their home losing streak in the World Series to five games (having lost all four at home in the 2019 World Series against the Nationals) and puts them down 0-1 and in need of a win in Game 2 to try and reset the series into a best-of-five.

Up Next: World Series Game 2 will be another 7:09 PM Central scheduled start time on Wednesday from Minute Maid Park. The expected pitching matchup is Max Fried, who is 1-1 with a 3.78 ERA in three postseason starts, for the Braves, and Jose Urquidy, who went just 1.2 innings while allowing six runs (five earned) in his start in the ALCS.

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