Houston faces elimination after 104-99 loss

3-pointers from Rockets game 5 loss versus Warriors

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The Houston Rockets tipped off late Wednesday night against the Golden State Warriors in a pivotal game 5 of the western conference semifinals. Houston suffered from multiple double-digit deficits in the first half, but battled back in the third quarter to even the score. Both teams would trade leads in the fourth, but it was Golden State who would come out on top. Golden State now leads the series 3 games to 2 in the best of 7 series.

Capela neutralized

Throughout the regular season, Houston's starting center terrorized opponents with his athletic versatility and ability to feed on alley-oop opportunities. It was expected that Clint Capela would be a major piece in this series, but so far the Warriors have refused to allow Capela to become a factor. He's looked lost, failed to catch easy lobs, and refuses to challenge anyone down low. Tonight he played himself off the court once again, logging only 26 minutes in a must-win game. Capela must find a way to reassert himself somehow in this series if Houston wants to dictate the game play.

Durant goes down

Kevin Durant was firing on all cylinders once again Wednesday night when late in the third quarter he came up limping on a non-contact injury. He immediately retreated to the locker room and did not return to the game. The issue is being characterized as a right calf strain at the moment. It seemed like a golden opportunity for Houston to steal a win in Oakland, but late runs from the Warriors' other stars sealed the victory. If Durant misses any time moving forward, Houston's chances of clawing back into this series is vastly improved.

Splash brothers regroup

After a collective game 4 shooting clunker between Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, game 5 was a solid reversal of fortune. Klay Thompson provided a long overdue Klay Thompson moment, as he was unable to miss for most of the first quarter, going 5-7 for 12 points. Curry, still slumping from beyond the arc, attacked the rim at an efficient 6-12 clip. When Durant went down, it was the collective effort of both Thompson and Curry who picked up the slack and prevented Houston from running away with the game. Thompson finished with 27 points, while Curry finished with 25.

Rockets player of the game

James Harden: 31 points (10-16 from the field), 8 assists, 4 rebounds, 4 steals, 1 block

Warriors player of the game

Klay Thompson: 27 points (5-10 from 3-point range), 1 assist, 4 rebounds, 3 steals

Up next

The Rockets will take on the Warriors on Friday for game 6 of the western conference semifinals at 8:00 pm, central.

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RAVENS 33, TEXANS 16

5 observations from the Ravens win over the Texans

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Let's be honest; the Texans were not going to beat the Ravens. Baltimore has better players, a better quarterback and a better coaching staff. (And oh, a better kicker). All of that was on display in the Ravens' 33-16 win.

The Ravens move to 2-0, while the Texans dropped to 0-2 after facing the AFC's two best teams.

The Texans will still likely contend for a playoff spot, but nothing the last two weeks indicates they are anywhere near contending in the AFC. A look at five things from the Ravens win:

1) Oh, Brien...It did not take long for Bill O'Brien's goofy coaching to rear its ugly head. Down 3-0 at their own 34 as the first quarter was running out, O'Brien chose to go for it on fourth and one. The play was predictably blown up, the Ravens quickly scored to make it 10-0, and the Texans were instantly in a hole against a superior opponent. You can't give points away against the Ravens. They might have scored anyway with a punt, but there was no stopping them with a short field.

2) Some positives on defense. Despite the score, The Texans looked much better on that side of the ball against an explosive offense. J.J. Watt had two sacks, the team had four total, and they kept Lamar Jackson from destroying them. Seven of the points were scored by the Ravens defense, and O'Brien's gaffe led to seven more. The Ravens wore them down in the fourth quarter, but they played well enough until then to keep the team in the game had the offense been better. They did not force any turnovers, however, and that was one of the differences in the game. They were also blown off the ball on a fourth and one in the fourth quarter that led to the Ravens' 30th points and could not stop the run at all in the fourth quarter. But that's what the Ravens do with a lead, and the Texans offense gave them no breaks by being unable to stay on the field.

3) The difference between real contenders...The Ravens were just so much more skilled on both sides of the ball. Defensively, they focused on taking away the run. David Johnson averaged 3.1 yards per carry. Will Fuller had as many catches as you did. The Ravens forced two turnovers on just really good football plays. The Texans don't make plays like that. They might against lesser teams, but if your goal is to compete with the best, it's just not good enough.

4) Deshaun Watson needs to be better. His numbers looked so so on the surface (25 of 36, 275 yards, 1 TD, 1 interception). He was sacked four times and added 17 rushing yards on five carries. He did not make plays late when they needed one here or there to maybe get back in the game. With his big contract, it's time for Watson to stop being close to elite and take the next step. His interception was more of being fooled by Marcus Peters than throwing a bad ball, but the Texans were just 3 of 9 on third downs. Throw in the ill-advised fourth down play, and they were just 3 of 10 extending drives. Give the Ravens a lot of credit, but again, to compete with the best, you have to be better than that.

5) Now what? The Texans travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers, who have not been impressive in their two wins. Still, it's hard to see Houston as anything but serious underdogs. They are last in the AFC South, and have a lot of work to do. The defense showed some promise at times, but will have to continue to improve. The offense has a long way to go. They match up better with the Steelers than they do the Ravens and Chiefs, but that does not mean they can win. If you were hoping they would give you some indication they can be more than just also-rans, they failed to do that on any level against either the Chiefs or Ravens.

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