OFF THE TOP OF MY BALD HEAD

Barry Warner: Rockets fizzle in Game 1, plus a look at the rest of the NBA, Texans and Astros

Kevin Durant is an unstoppable force. Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Rockets were sloppy, tentative and had no rhythm, while the Warriors were free and easy with their ball movement and shooting in their 119-106 Game 1 win.

The Rockets had no swag, made too many mental mistakes, committed 16 turnovers, spent way too much time dribbling with their isolation.

After a tied first half, the Warriors opened up a seven-point lead at the end of the third quarter,

Sure, James Harden was terrific, scoring 41 of the hardest points he has scored. The Warriors shot 33 times over the Beard, wearing him out.

The Rockets did not get the ball to Chris Paul for the mid-range jumper. He scored 23 and dished out 11 assists.

Where were the 3s getting nothing but net?

Regardless who was guarding Kevin Durant, it did not matter. He simply is impossible to stop. The one and done from Texas had 37.

Klay Thompson had 28 while Steph Curry added 18.

Golden State has the rings.  You cannot discount the experience factor.  What the fans do not see is they are the best defense the Rockets have faced.  They forced the Rockets into shot possession mistakes and way off balance, awkward attempts. Then you add the mismatch with Kevin Durant. Unless the bench of Gordon, Green and Mbah a Moute are stellar each night the Rockets will watch the Finals on TV.

That’s why my prediction is Golden State in six.

Jeff Van Gundy was my guest on Reality Check last Friday

Among the topics covered was the career high by Chris Paul in the finale against overmatched Utah.

 "CP 3 is fabulous and he has been so good for so so long. But the focus has been more on negative, rather than how good he his.  Remember, he was dominant since his rookie year in New Orleans. The variety he gives Mike on pick and roll gives him a chance at scoring the best mid-range jumper in the league

“His level of assertiveness offensively has been terrific,” the colorful former Rockets coach stated.

Paul’s friendship with Steph Curry goes back to the great shooter’s rookie season.  Chris went out of his way to help the budding star.  The two still hang out together during the off seasons and text during the year.

Curry missed 31 games during the regular season. The fact he is so well rested is yet another major advantage for the defending champs.

Cav-nots?

The Celtics lost Gordon Hayward early, then Kyrie Irving late, but they beat LeBron and the Cavs by 25 in Game 1. It’s yet another reminder to the world of sports why Danny Ainge is one of the great executives in modern NBA history, and why Brad Stevens is the best basketball coach working right now, in either college or the pros.

Just imagine how much more fun the Eastern Conference finals would be if Kyrie were in the gym, doing the same things for his new team the way he used to when he was LeBron's wingman in Cleveland?

Bad Rap?

Raptors coach Dwane Casey   was named the National Basketball Coaches Association’s Coach of the Year. The choice on its own did not raise eyebrows, as Casey led the Raptors to 59 wins and the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, four games ahead of the Celtics.

A few days later Toronto management fired him. It is important to remember that in life, as well as sports, that the grass can be browner on the other side.

Change can also lead to worse product, worse record or worse balance sheet for the company or franchise that makes the new hire.

Fat chance, Texans

The Texans placed guard Jeff Allen on reserve PUP list.

 If you believe that then you believe in Santa Claus and pigs flying. The Texans are trying to avoid a lawsuit. Cutting the slob was not exactly earth-shattering news.  The former KC Chief guard was signed to take the place Of Brandon Brooks who signed a free agent contract with the Super Bowl Eagles.

It was yet another example of where the former GM Rick Smith Mc Nair made an error.

Allen came here and looked like the Pillsbury Dough boy in uniform.  He was fat, sloppy and not very strong, not exactly looking like an NFL player.  True, he did have both ankle and concussion problems, but losing the Battle of the Bulge cost him a job here.

You bet

Sanity has finally prevailed in the highest court in the land.

Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred has been openly meeting with bookmakers from Vegas casinos. The most visionary of commissioners, the NBA’s Adam Silver, has long been in favor of legalized gambling.

Now that Las Vegas has hockey and the amazing Golden Knights, they too can see the future.

All leagues would see an increase in their revenues by getting a percentage of the take.

But not the league that wallows in hypocrisy, the NFL. Why do you think they had the networks put in the ten-minute ticker? The masses still watch in part because of fantasy football.

The American Gaming Association estimates that Americans illegally wager about $150 billion on sports each year.

Texas will be among the last states to finally get their heads out of the sand.  We have no casinos, yet the state is content to let millions of dollars go across the border to Louisiana casinos.

On the Astros

Charlie Morton lowered his ERA to 2.03. Two teammates, Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole, are the only two with lower ERAs in the AL. It was nice to see Evan Gattis finally wake up with a pair of homers and four RBI’s for the streaky DH.

I am concerned about the 0-13 slump of Jose Altuve, sending his batting average to .302.

Dallas Kuechel is now 3-5, as he used his new four seamer to give up only three hits in the Mother’s Day win over Texas.






 

                               




 

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The Texans are still raking the money in. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

Let’s just say that 2021 wasn’t the best of years for the Houston Texans.

Their All-Pro star quarterback was sued by 24 female massage therapists who alleged sexual misconduct and sexual assault. The team was accused of helping the quarterback in his questionable behavior and settled with 30 different women involved in the case.

The Texans put the quarterback in timeout and didn’t allow him to play a single down all year.

The Texans finished 4-13 and fired their coach after only one season.

The Texans were named in a lawsuit charging the NFL with racial discrimination and wound up hiring a coach who wasn’t even a finalist in their initial search.

The team owner is perceived as a low-IQ hayseed and sports talk hosts have nicknames for him like Floyd the Barber, Hee Haw and Jethro.

The team’s executive vice-president of football operations and resident Svengali has a reputation one step below a snake oil salesman at Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show in an empty field just outside the city limits.

NRG Stadium was a mausoleum last season with sidewalk scalpers selling tickets for pennies on the hundreds of dollars.

The team was outscored by 172 points, their worst point differential in team history.

In recent years, the team released their biggest and most beloved star ever, J.J. Watt, and traded their star receiver DeAndre Hopkins for a pack of stale Twizzlers.

This year, the Texans will be paying three head coaches: current coach Lovie Smith, their old coach David Culley and their old-old coach Bill O’Brien.

The future doesn’t require sunglasses. Las Vegas has published early odds for all 17 Texans games in 2022. They are underdogs in every game posted, including Week 17 when the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars visit NRG Stadium.

So far, the most positive news coming out of training camp is the Texans will wear a new red helmet for one whole game this season, Nov. 3 against the Philadelphia Eagles. Keep staring at the shiny watch, Texans fans, you’re getting sleepy, very sleepy.

The Texans couldn’t have had a worse couple of years if Jerry Jones had sent a mole down to Houston to muck up the Texans franchise.

Things have gone so lousy for the Texans lately that even the old Enron accountants couldn’t save the bottom line, right?

You would be wrong.

The Houston Texans are a printing press for money. The Texans are valued at $4.63 billion with a big fat “B.” That’s 21 percent more than the $3.84 they were valued at in 2021 and 38 percent more than the $3.34 billion in 2020.

Can you imagine what the Texans would be worth if they had respected ownership and weren’t paying off women accusing the team of aiding a player accused of sexual misconduct, or part of a lawsuit charging racial discrimination, or played in the Super Bowl (never), made the AFC championship game (never) and actually won more games than they lost (139-182 since their inception 21 years ago)?

Each year, Sportico publishes a list of NFL team values. The Texans are No. 11 at $4.63. It’s a pretty well-to-do fraternity, with the average NFL franchise worth $4.14 billion. While the Texans are underperforming on the field, they’re over performing on their balance sheet.

The No. 1 most valuable NFL team is the Dallas Cowboys, worth upwards of $7.64 billion. That’s $630 million ahead of the No. 2 richest team in the world, the New York Yankees.

The second most-valued NFL team is the current Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams at $5.91 billion. The bargain basement NFL team is the Cincinnati Bengals, worth “only” $2.84 billion.

Sixteen NFL teams are worth more than $4 billion. The NBA and MLB have only seven teams combined valued at more than $4 billion.

The richest NBA team, despite what you see in the league standings, is the New York Knicks, around the $6 billion mark, slightly ahead of the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers. The richest soccer teams are Barcelona and Real Madrid, both in the $5 billion range.

Meanwhile, as Wendy Williams asks, how you doin’, Texans fan? You might not want to look at your 401k statement. Wall Street just reported its worst first half of a year since 1970.

The S&P 500 is down 20 percent this year. NASDAQ is down 30 percent. The Dow Jones is down 15 percent. The current inflation rate is 9.1 percent. If you’re not in the market and choose to sock away your money at the bank, you’re getting about 1.5 percent interest. Food and gas price are up, rents are up, home loan interest rates are up, tuition is up. You’re losing money by saving money.

You can’t win, and neither can the Houston Texans, on the field anyway. The only difference is, the Texans are raking in money like there’s no tomorrow, which starts Sept. 11 at home against Indianapolis. The Colts are 8-point favorites.

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