END OF THE LINE

Fred Faour: 5 thoughts on the Rockets' season-ending Game 7 loss to the Warriors

Steph Curry and the Warriors got off the hook. Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Five quick thoughts on the Rockets' season ending 101-92 loss to the Warriors:

Die by the 3: The Rockets lost this series because they could not hit wide open 3s. It was really nothing the Warriors did defensively; the Rockets simply could not hit from beyond the arc. At one point they missed 27 straight 3s. That's almost impossible to do; a shot or two has to fall by accident. It was a key factor in the loss. They finished 7 of 44 in Game 7. 

Elimination James: There is a saying in playoff hockey; your best players have to be your best players. Same goes for the NBA. James Harden might have been the Rockets best player, but he sure did not play like it. He scored 32 of the most empty points you have ever seen. He was just 12 of 29 from the field and 2 of 13 on 3s. He also had several bad turnovers that led to easy points the other way. If he plays like regular season Harden, the Rockets win this series.

Third and long: The Rockets continuously were outscored in the third quarter and it cost them the series. They took an 11-point lead into the third and were outscored 33-16 Mondy night, and that was that. 

Bad time to be awful: Trevor Ariza is a solid role player, but the Rockets needed him to contribute at least some offernse. In Game 7, he scored as many points as everyone reading this combined. He was 0-for-12 from the field and 0-of-9 on 3-pointers. Harden will get the bulk of the blame, but even a below average Ariza would have given them a shot.

The positives: The Rockets did something no one else has done since Kevin Durant showed up in Golden State -- pushed the Warriors to seven games. But without Chris Paul, they simply could not get it done. They had their chances, and if just a couple players had showed up, it would have been them playing Cleveland, not the Warriors.

The bottom line: The Rockets had every chance to win the series. With a healthy Chris Paul, they probably do. But Paul is rarely healthy, and he was gone when they needed him most. In the end, it was a fun ride, but it could have been so much more.

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Yuli Gurriel had a monster night at the plate Friday. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

Although they lost the series 2-1, the Astros ended their road trip with a nice win over the Yankees to head home on a positive note. On Friday, they welcomed in the Toronto Blue Jays and former teammate George Springer, currently on the IL, to start a three-game series and long homestand. They had an excellent night at the plate, along with a strong start from Jose Urquidy, cruising past the Blue Jays to take the opener.

Final Score: Astros 10, Blue Jays 4

Astros' Record: 17-15, third in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jose Urquidy (3-2)

Losing Pitcher: Ross Stripling (0-2)

Jays strike first, then Houston responds and never looks back

It first appeared that Urquidy may be in for a long night, giving up two solo home runs early in Friday's game, one to Bo Bichette in the top of the first with one out to put Toronto up 1-0, then another to Danny Jansen in the top of the third. However, Urquidy would lock-in, and his offense would back him up strongly.

Houston ended up sending nine batters to the plate in the bottom of the second, getting two runs on a homer by Carlos Correa, then later loading the bases to set up an RBI walk by Alex Bregman. In the bottom of the fifth, with a one-run lead at 3-2, Yuli Gurriel expanded the lead to three runs on a two-run shot.

Gurriel went on to have a fantastic night, going 4-for-4 at the plate with 4 RBI. His third of those came in the bottom of the seventh, extending the lead again with an RBI single to make it 6-2. Kyle Tucker made it a five-run game that same inning with an RBI double, then more insurance came in the bottom of the eighth. They reached double-digits that inning, with Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, and Yuli Gurriel, his fourth of the night, all getting an RBI to make it 10-2.

Urquidy finishes seven, then Emanuel finishes it off

Those gave Urquidy plenty of support, though he would bounce back after the two early homers and have a nice night on the mound. He allowed just two other hits, working around both, en route to a seven-inning two-run performance to earn him the win. His final line: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 2 HR, 84 P.

He likely could have gone longer, but Dusty Baker turned the ball over to Kent Emanuel to wrap things up with the significant lead. He did so, despite allowing a two-run home run to former-Astro Teoscor Hernandez in the top of the ninth to make the score 10-4. The win kept the Astros above .500 and two games back of the A's, who sit atop the AL West standings.

Up Next: The middle game of this series will be a 6:10 PM start Saturday night. The pitching matchup will be Steven Matz (4-2, 4.78 ERA) for Toronto and the electric Cristian Javier (3-0, 1.75 ERA) for Houston.

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