A NEW ERA IS HERE

All the reasons Christian Wood looks like the real deal for Rockets

All the reasons Christian Wood looks like the real deal for Rockets
What a night for Christian Wood! Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images.

Thursday night, the Rockets faced the Spurs and I personally enjoyed the ball movement inside of head coach Stephen Silas' offense. The Rockets' head coach called plays that involved screens and moving without the ball. James Harden killed the narrative of not being able to play off the ball, as he scored off catch-and-shoot multiple times. In my opinion, Harden is buying into Silas' system. Harden finished Thursday night with 20 points, nine assists, and seven rebounds in 27 minutes of action.

Another thing that I enjoyed was the play of 6'10 Christian Wood, as he was dominant from all over the court. Harden and Wood destroyed the San Antonio Spurs in the pick-n-pop and pick-n-roll formations. Woods was effective inside for the Rockets, as he used his big frame to control the paint. He also wasn't hesitant to shoot from long range, as he shot 2 of 6 (33%) from the perimeter. Wood even collected 10 rebounds versus the Spurs, which is another reason that micro-ball will not be missed. At the end of Thursday's game, Wood finished with 27 points in 24 minutes.

It was a pleasure watching Wood being disruptive with his creativity towards the basket. When Wood was 8-10 ft from the hoop, he was able to create off the dribble. This is a huge upgrade from Clint Capela, and very encouraging to see more production from a big man in Houston's offense. Wood deserves to be the starter over DeMarcus Cousins because of his youth, athleticism, and upside.

Eric Gordon looks more inventive playing in Silas' offense and became extremely active. Gordon looks more confident, as he shot 44 percent from the perimeter and finished with 23 points Thursday night. Of course, Gordon has been through recent struggles with shooting the basketball, but if he stays healthy and optimistic, he'll have a great season. Silas has created more opportunities for Gordon off the ball, as he scored the first basket on a variety of screens.

The roster looks completely set for this upcoming season. David Nwaba, Sterling Brown, Bruno Caboclo, and Jae'Sean Tate could equally fight for rotation minutes. All four players have been impressive inside of preseason and training camp. It will be a tough decision for Silas to make because of the talent of each player. Those four definitely had something to prove during training camp and preseason.

Brown's efforts have been noticeable on defense, and he's also been able to run the point on offense. Which the Rockets desperately need, so they have a backup for John Wall. Caboclo has been impressive on offense because of his shooting and being able to set screens. Nwaba has shown ability on defense for the Rockets and is also averaging two assists per game. Tate can become great in the pick-n-pop and pick-n-roll for the Rockets, as he scored 11 points on Tuesday night versus the Spurs.

Hopefully, Harden stays, Cousins and Wall stay healthy, Wood continues to dominate, Gordon remains confident with his shooting, and Silas stays consistent with the ball movement on offense. That's a lot of ifs, but this roster has some serious potential if they can put it all together.

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Braves beat Houston in extra innings, 5-4. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

Marcell Ozuna hit his major league-leading eighth homer and Orlando Arcia’s RBI single in the 10th inning lifted the Atlanta Braves to a 5-4 win over the Houston Astros on Wednesday.

It completes a three-game sweep of the struggling Astros and is Atlanta’s fourth straight victory.

The Braves scored two runs in the eighth inning to tie it at 4-4. Michael Harris II started the 10th as the automatic runner on second and there was one out in the inning when Seth Martinez (1-1) intentionally walked Matt Olson.

Ozuna lined out to right field to send Harris to third base. Arcia then singled on a ground ball to left field to score Harris and put the Braves on top.

Pinch-runner Jake Meyers was on second when Kyle Tucker walked with no outs in the 10th. Meyers moved to third on a fly out by Yainer Diaz but Jeremy Peña grounded into a double play to end it.

A.J. Minter (3-1) got the last two outs of the ninth for the win and Raisel Iglesias earned his fifth save.

Reigning NL MVP Ronald Acuña Jr. added his first homer of the season to help the Braves to the victory. Ozuna also leads the majors with 23 RBIs and he extended his hitting streak to 16 games, which ties his career best and is the longest active streak in the majors.

Yordan Alvarez and Mauricio Dubón both homered for the Astros, who fell to 6-14 and are last in the AL West.

There was one out in the first when Alvarez connected on his homer to the seats in left field to put Houston up 1-0.

Ozuna opened the second with his 432-foot shot to left field, which bounced off the wall and tied the game.

Acuña put the Braves up 2-1 when he sent the first pitch of the fifth inning to straightaway center field.

The Astros tied it on an RBI single by Alex Bregman in the fifth and Kyle Tucker’s RBI double came next to put the Astros up 3-2.

Dubón hit his first home run of the year off Jesse Chavez to start Houston’s sixth and push the lead to 4-2.

Harris singled to start the seventh before a ground-rule double by Austin Riley. Olson reached, and Harris scored on a fielding error by first baseman José Abreu when he couldn’t grab a routine ground ball.

There was one out in the inning when Riley scored on a sacrifice fly by Arcia to tie it at 4-all.

Houston starter J.P. France allowed four hits and two runs in five innings.

Max Fried gave up seven hits and three runs in five innings.

UP NEXT

Braves: Atlanta is off Thursday before opening a series against Texas on Friday night with LHP Chris Sale (1-1, 4.58 ERA) on the mound.

Astros: Houston is also off Thursday before ace Justin Verlander will make his season debut Friday night against Washington. The three-time Cy Young Award winner opened the season on the injured list with inflammation in his right shoulder.

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