Rockets down 0-1 after 104-100 defeat

3-pointers from Rockets game one loss versus Golden State

James Harden.

Sunday afternoon the Houston Rockets took on the Golden State Warriors in game one of the western conference semifinals round. Houston was slow to shake off the rust from their extended break in the first quarter, but their outstanding defense kept them competitive regardless. Golden State would benefit from a few key no-calls late in the fourth quarter and Stephen Curry buried a 3-point dagger to escape 104-100. Golden State leads the series one game to zero.

Slow Start

Houston did their best impression of their western conference finals game seven performance to kick off the series, and not in a good way. Murmurs of the Rocket's now infamous 0-27 3-point clunker surfaced as Houston struggled with a 1-14 performance to round out the first quarter. Stingy defense and points off of turnovers kept Houston in the game, but after a 4-point loss it's difficult not to look back and consider their atrocious start as a significant contributing factor.

Capela's Clunker

News broke earlier in the week following Houston's loss in Utah that center Clint Capela had been battling not one but two simultaneous upper respiratory viruses that contributed to his lack of production. Having been off since Wednesday, it was hoped that Capela would have enough time to recover enough for game one against the Warriors. It remains to be discovered if there were any lingering effects, but what can't be denied is that Capela was non-existent and practically unplayable throughout game one. The Rockets starting big man who outright called out the Warriors earlier this week after eliminating the Jazz was the same one who turned in a 4 point, 6 rebound performance and was virtually snuffed out by a well executed Golden State interior defense. Capela must reassert himself as a factor this series if Houston is going to upend the Warriors.

Costly no calls

Game one was--from a pure basketball enthusiast's perspective--a fantastic and pulse pounding start to the most highly anticipated playoff series of the season to date. Unfortunately the excitement of the game will be mainly forgotten and instead replaced with debates over several key moments of controversial officiating. In at least four separate incidents, Warriors players impeded Rockets' shooters "landing zones" from beyond the three-point line. The rule violation, categorized as a shooting foul, would have resulted in at least 12 free throw attempts. Houston had other opportunities to win that they failed to capitalize on, but in a game that was decided by four points it's a bad look for any of the attention to be directed toward poor officiating.

Rockets player of the game

James Harden: 35 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, 3 steals

Warriors player of the game

Kevin Durant: 35 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block

Next up:

The Rockets will remain in the bay area for game two of the western conference semifinals on Tuesday at 9:30 pm, central time.

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Houston's offense had another strong day at the plate in Seattle against the Mariners on Wednesday. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

After striking a deal with the Mariners before Tuesday's game, along with a reported deal with the Marlins on Wednesday before the finale, the Astros continued to try and bolster their bullpen with fresh arms while also focusing on this series against Seattle. Having won the night prior to even it up, it came down to the rubber game on Wednesday afternoon to decide the series.

Final Score: Astros 11, Mariners 4

Astros' Record: 63-40, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi (4-5)

Losing Pitcher: Yusei Kikuchi (6-6)

Astros continue to score runs in Seattle

Just like in the earlier games in this series, the Astros had no problems offensively. They strung together four consecutive one-run innings, starting in the top of the second when they loaded the bases, then got an RBI groundout by Myles Straw to go up 1-0. In the top of the third, Yuli Gurriel drove one in on a two-out RBI double, bringing in Jose Altuve, who led the inning off with a double of his own. Chas McCormick led off with a single in the fourth, then later scored on an RBI single by Aledmys Diaz.

The fourth run in as many innings came in the top of the fifth, as Gurriel would notch his second RBI with a solo homer to start that inning, pushing the lead to 4-0. They didn't stop there, and neither did Gurriel, as he would get RBI number three on the day as part of a four-run top of the sixth, with RBI hits him, Altuve, Diaz, and Carlos Correa, doubling the lead to 8-0.

Odorizzi gets to the sixth before allowing two homers

The run support gave Jake Odorizzi plenty of leeway, which he didn't need until the bottom of the sixth. He held Seattle scoreless over the first five frames, allowing just four baserunners on a hit by pitch, a walk, and two singles, all peppered over that span and erased in each inning. Kyle Seager would get the Mariners on the board in the bottom of the sixth, blasting a one-out solo homer to cut the lead to seven runs at 8-1. After a single in the next at-bat, recently traded Abraham Toro made it four games in a row with a homer, this one a two-run shot to cut the lead to 8-3 and end Odorizzi's day. His final line: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 2 HR, 95 P.

Houston wins the series

Houston brought in Brooks Raley to finish the sixth, issuing two walks but stranding them to keep it a five-run lead. Myles Straw helped push that back to six in the top of the seventh, reaching on a single to start the innings, then stealing both second and third to get in position for Diaz's third RBI of the day, a groundout to make it 9-3. Cristian Javier was the next reliever out for the Astros, but he would not make it through the bottom of the seventh, allowing a single and three walks, the third with the bases loaded to bring in a run.

Bryan Abreu was brought in to get out of the jam, getting a strikeout to end the seventh. Then, in the top of the eighth, Kyle Tucker would put two more runs on the board with a two-run homer making the lead seven runs at 11-4. Abreu remained in for the bottom of the eighth, erasing two one-out singles to get through the frame. Brandon Bielak took over in the bottom of the ninth to close things out, posting a 1-2-3 inning to wrap up the win and give Houston the series victory.

Up Next: Houston will travel down the coast to San Fransisco before getting a day off on Thursday. They'll pick up an exciting three-game series with the Giants on Friday, with the opener slated to start at 8:45 PM Central. Framber Valdez (6-2, 2.97 ERA) will take the mound for the Astros, while San Fransisco's starter is TBD.

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