The wait is over

All systems go for Russell Westbrook and the Rockets

Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images.

It was reported that Russell Westbrook had landed in Orlando on Tuesday. Wednesday, Westbrook was cleared to play after being tested for COVID-19. Westbrook informed everybody on Instagram because it was still unknown when he would show up in Orlando. He spoke to the media on Wednesday about his symptoms and said that he is feeling fine now.

"First off, thankful and blessed to be healthy and able to go out and compete. Just quarantining, been at home trying to be productive. Finding ways to stay active...," as Westbrook told the media. "I do know that it's definitely something to take very seriously and understand wearing a mask can be between life or death, honestly."

Even though the NBA was shut down for four months, Westbrook kept his self in excellent condition. Westbrook was seen on Instagram working out with Kevin Hart in Los Angeles. Staying in shape is the most important thing for Westbrook. The Rockets feed off Westbrook's drive and intensity. Coach Mike D'Antoni raved all last week about Westbrook's conditions and health.

"Our medical staff, they'll determine when Russell is ready to go and when he's ready to play 20 mins, 30 mins," D'Antoni said on Sunday. "I do hear he's in pretty good shape and has been ramping up. Hopefully its fairly seamless with some precaution."

Since Westbrook is back at practice, the intensity will pick up. Everybody knows Westbrook's motor could run forever. Westbrook is noticeably big on making sure that his teammates keep the same momentum. The Rockets are getting back their best vocal leader on the court. PJ Tucker was able to describe today's practice as very intense because of Westbrook.

"Practice has been at a pretty high level, but I know today it's about to be through the roof," Tucker said.

Westbrook was highly active during the break, after the death of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. He even wore the shirt that he wants to promote around the NBA to the Zoom press conference. Westbrook wanted to show respect to the families of the victims who died because of police brutality.

"I wanted to be able to, number one show my respects to the families," Westbrook said. He even made the shirts for the players, so they were able to use words without talking. "Another way to use their voice without talking."

He was seen in Compton hosting protests with YG, the rapper. Westbrook is working on a documentary about the ''Tulsa Race Massacre.'' He is getting the opportunity to work with Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Stanley Nelson. In 1921, white mobs in the Greenwood district of Tulsa, destroyed black residents and businesses.

Westbrook is glad that NBA owners are starting to recognize the importance of "Black Lives Matter."

"It's important that our owners, number one, understand all the social injustice that goes on in today's society," Westbrook said. "Understand how meaningful it is for them to show their support."

There is still no timetable of Westbrook playing on Friday against Toronto Raptors in the Rockets first scrimmage. Even though Westbrook is in good physical shape, he wants to be in basketball shape. Westbrook does not want to be on the court too fast, he wants the timing to be perfect.

"I'll take one day at a time. Just be thankful and blessed to be able to go back on the floor and compete," Westbrook said. "When I'm back 100% you will know."

Now the Rocket are just waiting on Luc Mbah a Moute so their whole team can be in sync.

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Houston has lost seven of eight

Mariners ride big fifth inning to series win over Astros

Jake Odorizzi earned his second loss as an Astro Sunday. Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images.

With the losing streak behind them by taking the middle game on Saturday night, the Astros returned to T-Mobile Park on Sunday afternoon to try and make it back-to-back victories to take the series. Instead, they'd suffer their seventh loss in the last eight games.

Final Score: Mariners 7, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 7-8, fourth in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Ljay Newsome (1-0)

Losing Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi (0-2)

Odorizzi locks in through four while Houston grabs a lead

Jake Odorizzi did not start his afternoon the way he needed to in order to have a good rebound outing compared to his first start. In the 37-pitch first inning, he issued two walks and an RBI-single, putting the Mariners at a significant advantage early. Odorizzi flipped the switch, though, finding a rhythm to retire the next ten batters after that RBI-single to get through four innings with just one run allowed.

Offensively for Houston, they quickly responded to Seattle's run in the first with one of their own in the top of the second, capitalizing on some shoddy defense by Seattle to get Carlos Correa to second to set up an RBI ground-rule double by Aledmys Diaz, tying things up 1-1. It stayed that way until the top of the fifth when a leadoff walk by Chas McCormick would turn into a run after a stolen base and two sacrifice flys to give Houston a 2-1 lead.

Mariners explode for four in the fifth

The lead was short-lived, as Seattle would explode in the bottom of the fifth, getting a leadoff single and one-out walk to set up a two-RBI triple by Mitch Haniger to go ahead 3-2. That would prompt Dusty Baker out of the dugout to end Odorizzi's day and move on to Brooks Raley. Raley would not fare any better, giving up a two-run homer to Ty France to extend Seattle's new lead to 5-2. He would finish the inning, putting Odorizzi's line final: 4.1 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 7 K, 89 P.

Seattle takes the series

Seattle would strike again in the bottom of the seventh against Joe Smith. After a leadoff walk, the Mariners would get back-to-back one-out RBI-doubles to extend their lead to 7-2. After Smith in the seventh, Peter Solomon would make his major-league debut in the bottom of the eighth and work around a one-out walk for a scoreless inning. Houston would then come up empty in the top of the ninth, dropping the finale and the series to Seattle.

Up Next: The Astros will travel to Denver tonight and get an off day tomorrow. Tuesday night, they'll start a quick two-game set with the Rockies at 7:40 PM Central. Houston currently has Lance McCullers Jr. (1-1, 5.27 ERA) penciled in as their starter, but with ongoing illness, he has not yet been fully confirmed. For the Rockies, Jon Gray (1-1, 2.87 ERA) is expected to start.

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