Houston faces elimination after 104-99 loss

3-pointers from Rockets game 5 loss versus Warriors

Getty Images

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.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

McCullers Jr. out-pitched friend and former teammate Dallas Keuchel on Father's Day. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

With three impressive wins to start this series against the once AL-leading Chicago White Sox, Houston tried to extend their winning streak to seven games and finish a four-game sweep on Father's Day. Thanks to a big inning against former-Astro Dallas Keuchel, they would win to keep their hot streak going.

Final Score: Astros 8, White Sox 2

Astros' Record: 43-28, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (4-1)

Losing Pitcher: Dallas Keuchel (6-2)

Rough return to Houston for Keuchel

In his first game against his old squad, Dallas Keuchel would not have a memorable start on the mound for Chicago. Houston made him labor in the first inning, loading the bases though they only came away with one run on an RBI single by Abraham Toro, grabbing the early 1-0 lead. After going down 1-2-3 in the second, they got after Keuchel again in the third.

They ended up batting around against him that inning, including a two-RBI single by Yordan Alvarez, RBI double by Taylor Jones, and bases-loaded RBI-walk by Jose Altuve, which would end Keuchel's day very early and leave the bases juiced. Chicago's bullpen would walk another batter to give Keuchel another earned run, making it a 6-2 game, with all six going against the former Houston ace. Carlos Correa extended the lead to five runs in the next inning, hitting a leadoff solo home run to make it 7-2.

McCullers Jr. gives up two over six

That gave Lance McCullers Jr. a nice lead to work with, and he managed it well. He had one big mistake in the early goings of the game, giving up a one-out single in the second to set up a two-run home run, which at the time put Chicago in front 2-1 before Houston's offense came alive. He followed that up with four scoreless innings, erasing a walk in each with some tremendous defense behind him—his final line: 6.0 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 94 P.

Astros complete the sweep to jump on top of the standings

Still a six-run game in the top of the seventh, Blake Taylor entered as the first reliever out of Houston's bullpen, tossing a 1-2-3 frame. He continued in the top of the eighth, getting two strikeouts in another scoreless inning. The 8-2 score would go final as Ralph Garza Jr. would enter as the third pitcher of the day to wrap things up with a scoreless top of the ninth to finish the four-game sweep. The win, their seventh straight, paired with an Oakland loss earlier in the afternoon, moves Houston into the top spot in the AL West based on winning percentage.

Up Next: This long stretch of consecutive games continues on Monday in Baltimore, as the Astros pick up a seven-game road trip starting with a three-game set against Baltimore getting underway at 6:05 PM Central. Jake Odorizzi (1-3, 5.68 ERA) will get the start for Houston, going opposite of Keegan Akin (0-2, 5.76 ERA) for the Orioles.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome