NBA PLAYOFFS

Fred Faour: 5 observations from Game 1 of the Rockets-Jazz playoff series

Chris Paul and the Rockets had plenty to celebrate. Tim Warner/Getty Images

Five observations from the Rockets' 110-96 Game 1 win over the Utah Jazz in the second round of the NBA playoffs:

1) No slow start: The Rockets came out hot, and opened up a 34-21 first quarter lead and expanded it to 64-39 at the half. The Jazz figured to struggle early, coming off a tough turnaround from Friday night's series-clinching win over the Thunder and also adjusting to not having Ricky Rubio. The Rockets took advantage and gained control of the game early.

2) Capela continues to shine: Clint Capela was better than Karl-Anthony Towns in their matchup in the opening series. For one game, he outplayed Utah's Rudy Gobert as well. Capela was active with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Gobert did not get his first basket until the fourth quarter and had 11 points, mostly in garbage time, and 9 rebounds.

3) If there is a cause for concern...The Jazz picked up the defense in the third quarter and cut into the Rockets lead. Houston was coasting, but the Jazz turned it into the kind of game they want to play. They outscored the Rockets 29-22 in the third quarter and 28-24 in the fourth. They were never really a threat, but that is the kind of play they will seek moving forward, and the Rockets will need to adjust.

4) Depth perception: The Rockets bench was outplayed by the Jazz bench. It did not matter, because the Rockets got a big game out of James Harden (41 points), but Jae Crowder was strong for Utah with 21 points. Utah's bench outscored Houston's 40-13, but the good news was the return of Luc Mbah a Moute, who played 21 minutes for Houston. He will be a key piece moving forward.

3-mendous: The Rockets shot over 50 percent on 3-pointers, hitting 53.1 percent on 17 of 32 shooting. Harden led the way with 7 of 12.

Overall, a solid opening game, but expect a better effort from Utah in Game 2 with more rest.

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The Texans are moving in the wrong direction. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

1. This team started incredibly slow and outside of a couple of drives in the second half disappointed. The defense got worked by the Chargers' star players, and the offense sputtered too often. It was really a summary of the season up to this point which is to say inconsistency.

2. Davis Mills was shaky early. The first drive interception was tough to stomach. The pocket got messy as he tried to drive the ball and he floated one up there. It gave the Chargers an easy drive for seven points.

3. One of the early offensive mistakes erased a scoring opportunity. Kenyon Green got nailed for a holding call that erased one of the best passes and catches between Brandin Cooks and Davis Mills all season. The rookie’s mistake was compounded the very next play when the offense allowed Mills to be sacked. It was a 40-yard swing that led to a punt.

4. Another third down penalty led to a mishap for the Texans. Laremy Tunsil gets a false start on third down to make it third and 10. The shovel pass to Rex Burkhead goes for six yards and then the Texans botch the field goal. Back-to-back drives and third-down penalties affected the offense and ended with no points. That was all just in the first quarter!

5. The Texans were abysmal with short yardage in key spots yet again. In the second quarter, Pep Hamilton opted for a pass on fourth and one. Davis Mills never got the play off and was sacked. After the game, Mills said the team wanted to catch the Chargers off guard running when most expected a pass, but Rex Burkhead was the running back. It was again a situation, a key and critical moment, that the team trusted Burkhead over the more dynamic Dameon Pierce.

6. The Chargers were very chunky on offense against the Texans. There were 16 plays that went for at least ten yards for the Chargers of their 67 plays. Mike Williams and Austin Ekeler were fantastic for Los Angeles.

7. The pass rush was non-existent for the Texans. This was one of the more disappointing aspects of the day to consider the Chargers were playing a rookie right guard, their center is injured but playing, and the left tackle was a backup left tackle. Nothing seemed to get home on an injured Justin Herbert. The Texans recorded just two quarterback hits in the game.

8. The linebackers got worked again. This is the absolute weakest unit on the team right now. They look like they’re easily exploited by most opposing offenses.

9. It was a rough day for the rookie class of the Texans. Derek Stingley was handled by Mike Williams on multiple occasions in key spots. Kenyon Green allowed a big sack and had a holding penalty erase a huge play. Jalen Pitre was the target of some offensive success in the Chargers' passing game.

10. Not all the rookies had a bad day. Dameon Pierce is so much fun to watch. He has the chance to be a truly impactful player for this team. His 75-yard touchdown scamper gave the team some juice, and he constantly fights and gets extra yards when the ball is headed his way. He finished with 14 carries and six catches for 20 total touches.

11. The Texans need teams to help them stay in games, and even then, it is a challenge. The tough part about where the Texans are through four games is there are some positives to look at and point to, but not enough to say the team is surely headed in the right direction. There surely has to be some adjustment by the team when the season is where it is after nearly a quarter of the year. The current direction isn’t going to lead anywhere positive soon.

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