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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How much will DeMeco Ryans' background impact the draft? Composite image by Jack Brame.

The Houston Texans have their guy in head coach DeMeco Ryans.

The leader of one of the top defenses in the NFL in 2022, Ryans returning to the Texans becomes somewhat of a homecoming for the former linebacker. Drafted by the team in the second round in 2006 out of Alabama, he played with Houston until the end of the 2011 season.

Since retiring as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2015, Ryans became a defensive quality control coach with the San Francisco 49ers in 2017. He was promoted to inside linebackers coach in 2018, and then, in 2021 became the defensive coordinator.

Now, when it comes to the Texans, with Ryans at the helm, how could that affect how the team approaches the draft this year?

Bryce Young more likely?

As mentioned before, Ryans was a member of the Crimson Tide before turning pro. While he never played under Nick Saban, he certainly has plenty of ties in the area that make it much more likely he can learn everything he needs to know about quarterback Bryce Young.

Young put on flashy performances on the field against Alabama’s opponents during his time in Tuscaloosa. But what coaches want to know is what is the young quarterback like off the field. Is he a playbook junky, does he spend extra hours in the training facility, how does he treat employees and staff on the team?

While all this information isn’t necessarily top secret for coaches, Ryans’ Tuscaloosa ties could give the Texans an edge in getting an extra leg up on Young. That could be enough to sway Houston one way or another with its No. 2 overall pick.

In Lance we trust?

The San Francisco 49ers started the season handing the keys of the offense to quarterback Trey Lance. With Ryans being the architect behind the team’s defense, he got a front row seat to all of Lance’s tricks and approach.

Ryans knows what makes Lance tick, what he struggles with, and in what areas he can excel in. If the Texans don’t feel like any of this year’s quarterbacks are the long-term answer, Ryans is the perfect guy to know what they could get out of Lance.

With the 49ers seeming to have found something with quarterback Brock Purdy, it will be interesting to see what the team residing in Santa Clara, California, does at that position as well. However, Purdy's elbow injury will be something to watch. If San Francisco chooses to move on from their first round pick in the 2021 draft, who better to decide whether it is worth scooping up Lance than Ryans.

Defense, defense, and defense!

Going back to the Alabama connection, the same can be said about Will Anderson Jr. The star linebacker, who shined with the Crimson Tide, accumulated 34.5 sacks and 204 tackles in three seasons with Alabama.

Anderson is expected to be a top five draft pick. Similar to Young, Ryans likely has a strong in to learn everything he wants to know about the 6-foot-4-inch edge rusher and more. If Houston does not see a must-have prospect at quarterback, Ryans would love to get a leader on the defense instead.

Ryans played linebacker for all 10 seasons in the NFL. He knows what it takes to be elite at that position group at the next level. If Anderson has the skill set to fit that description, Ryans is the guy to know it heading into the draft.

One thing is for sure, Ryans as the new head coach opens up a plethora of possibilities for the Texans.

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