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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The NASCAR Cup Series heads for Michigan International Speedway for the FireKeepers 400. MIS is one of the fastest racetracks in the country, as cars are capable of reaching speeds of 201-205 miles per hour. Hopefully, we will see a safe race considering the speeds we see here. We will more than likely see a race that is vastly different from what we saw last here when the drivers utilized the draft to pass around this track. This year, the cars are less aero-dependent and will be much more spread out. The drivers will need to continue to manage their tires as they have been doing all year.

Last weekend at Indy, Tyler Reddick captured his second victory of 2022 in dramatic fashion. The race came down to numerous restarts where drivers would drive way too deep into the first corner and run into each other each time. This was the central theme of the race, as restarts pretty much decided everything. We saw drivers like AJ Allmendinger, Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney get swept up in wrecks in turn one. On the final restart, Ross Chastain decided he didn’t want to be a part of these shenanigans and took the access road that skipped turn one. This moved catapulted him to the lead with Tyler Reddick as the two battled for the lead in a two-lap shootout. When the dust settled, Reddick came away victorious and Ross Chastain was black flagged for shortcutting.

The finish of this race sparked a serious debate among drivers and fans alike about ditching the Indianapolis road course and returning to the oval in 2023. Personally, this doesn’t make any sense to me. While yes, turn one is difficult to maneuver, it’s mainly because drivers all decide to send it as deep as they can, not because of the racetrack configuration. It’s also a bit disingenuous as for years, drivers and fans have been saying they don’t want to see the oval and that the track is designed for IndyCar. If I had to choose, I would say NASCAR just stop going to Indy and go to the short track down the road at Lucas Oil Raceway Park. We have seen so many great races there, and I think the Cup Series would be perfect for that track. Regardless, it will be interesting to see how NASCAR responds to this and what they decide to do for next season.

Kurt Busch will be out for the third consecutive week as he continues to recover from a concussion. This has been tough to hear about, and now there are legitimate concerns that he will not return to racing. There is a good chance however that 23XII could be saving him for the playoffs which are coming up.

For now, Ty Gibbs will continue to fill in for Busch. In his two starts the young phenom has performed extremely well, finishing 16th at Pocono and 17th at Indy. It’s clear that this young man can drive these cars, the only problem is finding a place for him to run next season.

The driver that I have winning this weekend is Martin Truex Jr. By any other standard, the season that Truex is having has been great. Constantly up front, leading laps and just overall contending. Unfortunately for him, 2022 hasn’t been just any average season. With 14 winners and Truex not being one of them, he is on the playoff bubble even though he is fourth in points. While his playoff future maybe uncertain right now, there are some good racetracks he is going to where can easily get that first win, and Michigan is one of them. Over the last four races here, he currently has the highest average finish, the highest percentage of laps led, but no victories. I see that changing this week. Toyota and Gibbs have been fast this season as Truex’s teammates have all punched their tickets to the playoffs. Look for Truex to be next in line.

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