Hall of famer Elvin Hayes weighs in on Rockets-Thunder, NBA playoffs

Composite photo by Jack Brame

I had a chance to connect with basketball royalty, "Big E" Elvin Hayes. 12x NBA All Star, NBA HOF, and NBA Champion.

SportsMap: What grade to you give commissioner Adam Silver in his handling of the pandemic/creation of the bubble?

Elvin Hayes: I think he has done an excellent job of getting basketball back where it needs to be. I'd give him an A. He gets a 10 out of 10 in my book.

SM: Would you have adapted to the bubble as a player ? Would you have thrived with it being the same court, same atmosphere each night, etc?

EH: No I wouldn't have. I think that is a very difficult situation for teams playing in one place. I wouldn't have been successful in that situation. I preferred going city to city. To me, it's more like a scrimmage than a game.

SM: There's a cloud of uncertainty with Russell Westbrook. Realistically how far can the Rockets go if he's limited?

EH: Houston can't go far without Russ. He's come in and taken them to another level. Without Westbrook, the Rockets will be really hurting.

SM: So for the first round matchup vs. the Thunder, these teams know each other really well. Does Chris Paul control the tempo of that series, or does James Harden rule the day?

EH: I'm a big fan of CP3. Chris has a very positive effect with Oklahoma and I've seen him this regular season elevate his teammates to play better. OKC has defeated Houston in the past because of Chris Paul. He's the key to that series. He's a floor general. James is a great player, but Chris guides that OKC team and will give the Rockets a hard time.

SM: Who do you think wins the NBA Title?

EH: Milwaukee. This will usher in the Giannis era of basketball.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

Houston drops the game to Arizona

D-backs outslug Greinke and Astros to take series opener

Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

With the series win over the Rangers by taking two of three games in the middle of the week, the Astros welcomed the Diamondbacks to Minute Maid Park for a three-game weekend series, Houston's final three regular-season home games. Here is how the opener unfolded:

Final Score: Diamondbacks 6, Astros 3.

Record: 25-26, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Zac Gallen (2-2, 3.00 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Luis Garcia (0-1, 2.53 ERA).

Houston scores first, but Arizona grabs a lead against Greinke

Houston would get on the board first on Friday night, with George Springer reaching base in the bottom of the first on an error, moving to second on a walk, then to third on a single, as the Astros loaded the bases with no out to threaten a big inning. Instead, they would come away with just one run, with Springer taking home on a wild pitch, grabbing the 1-0 lead, but leaving runs on the table.

They doubled their lead in the bottom of the third, getting a two-out RBI-double by Kyle Tucker to make it a 2-0 Houston lead. The D-backs responded in the top of the fourth, getting back-to-back singles to lead off the inning before a three-run homer by Kole Calhoun off of Zack Greinke would put Arizona in front, 3-2. Greinke would finish one more inning before Houston would move to their bullpen, striking out the side to bring his total to nine on the night, making the bad fourth inning the one blemish on his night. His final line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 9 K, 1 HR, 89 P.

Astros tie it, but D-backs take the opener

George Springer would get Greinke off the hook in the bottom of the fifth, leading off the half-inning with a solo bomb to tie the game at 3-3. Luis Garcia was first out of Houston's bullpen and retired Arizona in order for a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the sixth. He returned for the top of the seventh but would allow a leadoff single, RBI-triple, and wild pitch to bring in two runs. He would face two more batters, allowing a double and getting a strikeout, before Dusty Baker would come out to get him, now down 5-3.

Blake Taylor would make his return from the IL after Garcia, getting back-to-back outs to finish the inning. He continued on in the 5-3 game in the top of the eighth, but allowed a one-out solo homer to Calhoun, his second of the night and fourth RBI. That made it a 6-3 D-backs lead, which would go final as Houston would go scoreless after Springer's home run back in the fifth.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game set will start Saturday at 6:10 PM Central. The pitching matchup will be Luke Weaver (1-7, 6.70 ERA) for Arizona and Cristian Javier (4-2, 3.22 ERA) for Houston.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome