Fred Faour: 5 observations from the Rockets Game 2 win over Golden State

Fred Faour: 5 observations from the Rockets Game 2 win over Golden State
Eric Gordon played well. Jonathan Daniel

The Rockets looked more like the team we have seen all season and knocked off Golden State 127-105 to even the series at 1-1. Here are five thoughts on the Rockets win:

1) Balance, balance, balance: The supporting cast showed up in this one. PJ Tucker scored 22. Trevor Ariza had 18. Eric Gordon matched a team high with 27. It was not all on James Harden, Chris Paul and Clint Capela. A balanced Rockets team is dangerous.

2) Ball movement: The Rockets used ISO, but they also moved the ball and created mismatches. It made all the difference in the world.

3) One man show: Kevin Durant was a beast again with 38 points, but he had little help. Steph Curry scored 16 but on 7 of 19 shooting. No other Warrior hit double figures. Golden State simply did not do enough.

4) Getting defensive: The Rockets defense shut down Klay Thompson, who was great in Game 1. He scored just 8. They also bothered Curry again. Draymond Green was invisible. If the Rockets play defense like this, they can win the whole thing.

5) Great adjustments: Give Mike D'Antoni some credit for making the right moves. He changed things up, and the Rockets got a big win.

This is more like it. If the Rockets play like this, they can win at Oracle. If they play like Game 1? They come home down 3-1. We shall see.


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The Astros rotation looks like a strength moving forward. Composite Getty Image.

The Houston Astros are coming off a much-needed series win over the White Sox, but have a quick turnaround as they host the Orioles on Friday night at Minute Maid Park.

The 'Stros dropped the first game of the series with Framber Valdez on the mound, but were able to rebound with Hunter Brown and Spencer Arrighetti starting the final two games.

Brown was brilliant once again, and Arrighetti bounced back after a disastrous start against the Tigers over the weekend. Despite all the injures to the Astros staff this season, their young pitchers are stepping up when they need them the most.

Brown has six consecutive quality starts and is beginning to show signs that he can be the top of the rotation pitcher the club always hoped he could develop into.

Arrighetti has stepped in and shown that he belongs in the big leagues, and has provided innings Houston desperately requires with so many pitchers on the injured list.

Speaking of which, with Justin Verlander on the IL, Double A prospect Jake Bloss will make the start for Houston on Friday night. Bloss has quickly progressed through the farm system, having been drafted just a year ago.

We'll see how he performs in his MLB debut, but the club seems to have a lot of quality pitching options moving forward, especially with Luis Garcia and Lance McCullers scheduled to return in late July and early August respectively.

And as we look at the Astros rotation moving forward, perhaps they will go back to a six-man rotation during certain stretches in the second half of the season.

Which could prove to be vital to the team's success. As good as Ronel Blanco has been, he's never pitched as many innings as he'll be asked to pitch this year. Same goes for Arrighetti. And let's face it, sending Verlander out to pitch on four days rest consistently at 41 years old doesn't sound like a wise decision. He's already been on the IL twice this year.

While some see Garcia and McCullers as wild cards to help the team this season, Astros GM Dana Brown doesn't see it that way. He told the Astros flagship station this week that he's counting on those guys to make big contributions when they return. And he's counting on their postseason experience should they get there.

Keep in mind, Garcia has a 3.61 career ERA and has been durable outside the Tommy John surgery. And McCullers has always been good, it's just the health that causes concern.

Garcia is also an example of how a player can skip Double A and Triple A and have success right away in the big leagues. Hopefully, Bloss can follow in his footsteps, since he's bypassing Triple A to make his first start.

So what's the short and long-term outlook for the Astros rotation? And should we expect Verlander to return in 2025?

Be sure to watch the video above as we address those questions and much more!

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