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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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans loss rests squarely on this decision

Another tough loss for the Texans. Photo by Getty Images.

There are times in which you gamble and it pays off. Then there are times in which you gamble and lose badly. Today was definitely the latter. The Texans fell to the Titans 42-36 in an overtime thriller. The loss rests squarely on the head of interim head coach Romeo Crennel and his ill-timed gambling at the end of the game.

It started with the gamble to go for it on 4th&1 on the Titans' 35-yard line with 4:37 left in the game. That move said two things: A) we're on the road at 1-4 against the 4-0 division leader up by one point so let's try to end this, or B) I don't trust our kicker to make a 53-yard field goal. They converted because David Johnson is good for slamming into the backs of the offensive line for at least a yard or three. The next gamble came eight plays later. It was 4th & Goal from the 1-yard line. The play call was a pass. Deshaun Watson found Randall Cobb after scrambling to extend the play and putting the ball in a tight window on the sideline where only Cobb could catch it. Here's where I started to have a problem with the gambling.

That touchdown made it 36-29 in favor of the Texans. Up by seven with less than two minutes left in the game, the "right" call would be to kick the extra point to potentially go up by eight. That forces the opposition to have to score a touchdown and convert a two point conversion in order to tie the game. Alas...Crennel gambled by trying to force things, went for two, and came up short. Kenny Rogers once said: You've got to know when to hold 'em. Know when to fold 'em. Know when to walk away. Know when to run.

The porous defense, however, gave up the game tying touchdown and extra point with four seconds left to send the game into overtime. From there, the Titans got the ball in overtime and drove down the field for the game winning score. A team that played a game on Tuesday evening bullied a team on Sunday at noon. Let that sink in. Sure, Derrick Henry is a linebacker playing running back, but the amount of yards you gave up to him was unacceptable.

Not kicking that extra point to go up by eight with less than two minutes left (1:50 to be exact) was the key coaching move that I feel cost them the game. There's no coming back from blunders like that when you're now 1-5 and would need to go at least 8-2 with tons of help down the stretch to have an outside shot at the newly created seventh spot in the playoffs. You had the division leader down and were in position to get a division win to go to 2-4. Instead, you're now in position to help the Dolphins continue to improve their franchise from the boneheaded decisions Bill O'Brien made before his exit. Crennel and staff coached a good game, until the end when it mattered most. With an extra playoff spot available, they still have an outside shot to make it, but it'll be difficult.

This city and fanbase deserve better. One day, they'll get it and get a winner. Until then unfortunately, they'll have to settle for purgatory, disappointment, and mediocrity. Hold tight. I see good things coming one day Houston football fans.

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