Overcoming for the future

Are the Rockets' problems solved after the win Tuesday night?

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After the Rockets four game losing streak, they were finally able to pull off a win against the Timberwolves. It took them to the end of the 3rd quarter to grasp the lead. Are teams starting to figure out the Rockets strategy of the small ball rotation?

In the last four games, the Rockets shot 29% from three. Things have looked tough for a team who shoots nothing but three-point shots. The three-point shot is part of the Rockets small ball equation. So, to see that the Rockets shot 39% from three Tuesday night, was relieving. This is the type of confidence the Rockets need going forward.

The Rockets biggest struggle has been rebounding the basketball. Opposing teams in the last five games have outrebounded the Rockets 242 to 198. Hopefully Daryl Morey made the right decision of trading Clint Capela. The Rockets have been struggling the in the paint. At first, Robert Covington and PJ Tucker did a great job of rebounding for the team. But, are these two guys wearing down? They make up for 73 rebounds together in the last five games. This is not even half of the team's rebounds. Russell Westbrook is a great rebounder but has much bigger things on his plate.

Even though James Harden is averaging 28.2 ppg these last five games, he is shooting 37.3% from the field. Hopefully Harden finds his stroke again after scoring 37 points Tuesday night. He is the most important factor if the Rockets want to finish the season strong. It is important that Harden builds his confidence before the playoffs start in Houston. Harden has also struggled with turnovers in these last five games. Against the Magic he had 10 but Tuesday night 3. Which is much better for Harden because it allows the team to flow.





Westbrook on the other hand, is still able to stay consistent after being snubbed for Western Conference Player of the Month. Even though he played three games in the Rockets four game losing streak, Westbrook was still consistent. He is averaging 26 ppg and shooting 47.5% from the field in five games. After beating the Timberwolves Tuesday night, Westbrook and Harden look to be on the same page again. Things were starting to look shaky again after playing well together in February.



Things will not get easier for the Rockets because they play the Lakers next on Thursday. Hopefully, the Rockets stay consistent with their new style of play.

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Martin Truex Jr. won his 2nd race of the season last week. Photo via: Wiki Commons.

NASCAR returns to the Commonwealth of Virginia for the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway. This is the first of two races here at this track as they will race on Sunday afternoon. This will be different from the normal night race they usually have here as this will definitely affect the racing surface considering how much the sun could make the track slick. It should be a fun race come Sunday.

Last week, Martin Truex Jr. passed Denny Hamlin to capture his second win of the season after rain moved the race to Sunday. He became the first driver to win multiple races after a fierce battle with his teammate Denny Hamlin. The race was filled with tons of wrecks including a fifteen car pileup including Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch. It was one of the better races of the season as there was lots of beating and banging.

The race was not without controversy but not the kind you would expect. Early in the race Rick Ware Racing teammates Cody Ware and James Davison were involved in an altercation. The two were battling towards the back of the pack when Ware decided to drive through his teammate in turn four. The race got much worse for Cody Ware as he was involved in three more cautions all throughout the race. Many people around the sport were quite perturbed by his antics including broadcaster Mike Joy as he was audibly annoyed after Ware spun out later in the race. Many have questioned if the fifth-year driver should even be in the car and overall I can understand why some of those people think that. In his five years of driving, he has finished on the lead lap one time. I hope that he is able to figure it out and find success in the future, but this was not a good look.

The slump continues for two-time champion Kyle Busch

Throughout the race, Busch was running okay for the most part but towards the closing laps of the race he and Chris Buescher got together triggering a fifteen car pileup. Despite all this, he was able to rebound to a respectable tenth place finish. This has been more than likely the toughest stretch of his career since his championship in 2019. Many would say that the omission of Practice and Qualifying has really affected his performance. Whatever the issue is, this team really needs to find some speed, or he could be in danger of missing the playoffs. I look for this team to bounce back considering how talented he is.

Prediction

The driver that I have winning this week is Kyle Larson. This has been an incredible rebound season for Larson as he currently sits fourth in points. He is also second in laps led only to Denny Hamlin. Richmond has been a great track for him as it fits his driving style perfectly as he can run the outside line and find grip where others can't. This track is also rather sentimental to him considering he won his first pole award here during his rookie season in 2014. While he may not have the results he would want he has always been extremely fast here and even won back in 2017. I look for him to capture his second victory of 2021 come Sunday.

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