Is this math problem solved?

A good addition: Robert Covington fits well in Rockets small ball equation

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For the second straight night in the row, Robert Covington got the start. It has helped the Rockets spread the offense out. The only thing the Rockets must do is be consistent with their shooting.

Since the Rockets traded Clint Capela, they have been able to spread the floor and take more 3-point shots. Adding Covington gives them another shooter on the floor. Covington has made big shots against Utah and LA.

"You knew he can hit threes; it did surprise me a little bit that he's hit two game winners already," Coach D'Antoni told the press. "He had two in LA; so, I didn't know he hit big shots all the time."

In the last three games, Covington is shooting 41.9% from the field, 37.5% at the three-point line, and averaging five rebounds a game. He has also been a good rebounder for the Rockets too. Covington has been a nice addition to the Rockets so far despite losing two games in a row. He did have an off night from the field in the win against Boston but still scored 12 points, seven rebounds, three steals, and four blocks. Covington was disruptive on the defensive side of the ball as well.

Another good thing about the small ball equation is the Rockets are much better in transition. They can get up the floor much quicker now because the size difference. The Rockets main strategy is to outrun bigger opponents with this small lineup. Covington adds to the Rockets athletic frame because of his quickness and length.

Harden believes in the small ball because it allows them to spread the floor and get back quicker on defense.

"We're able to get better quality shots; which allows us to set up our defense on transition," Harden told the press. "Our half court defense is pretty tough to score consistently. So that's where we want to get; we want to take quality shots and get back on transition to make teams play us half court."

Can the Rockets keep solving this problem to the equation?

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Houston's magic number stays at 2

Astros drop series finale to Mariners after rough start by Greinke

Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

With their magic number at 2 to secure their spot in the 2020 MLB postseason, the Astros returned to T-Mobile Park in Seattle for this three-game series' finale and rubber game. Here are the highlights from the game:

Final Score: Mariners 3, Astros 2.

Record: 28-28, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Nick Margevicius (2-3, 4.57 ERA)

Losing pitcher: Zack Greinke (3-3, 4.03 ERA).

Greinke unable to complete five innings

While the Astros were being held scoreless, the Mariners were putting up runs on Zack Greinke. They took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first with back-to-back singles followed by an RBI-double with one out. Greinke would stop the damage there, then looked to settle in over the next few frames.

He allowed just one baserunner in the second through fourth innings, a one-out single in the bottom of the fourth. Then, in the fifth, the Mariners would knock him out of the game by getting a one-out single that would come around to score on a two-out RBI-double, followed by an RBI-single to extend the lead to 3-0. Greinke faced one more batter, allowing a single before Dusty Baker would take the ball and move to the bullpen. His final line: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 0 HR, 92 P.

Astros try a late rally, come up short

On the other end, the Astros were unable to break through against Nick Margevicius, getting just one hit and two walks through the first four innings. They had a chance to get on the board in the top of the fifth, starting the inning with back-to-back singles before a walk loaded the bases with one out to turn the lineup over. They'd come up empty, though, with George Springer striking out before a long flyball to center by Jose Altuve to end the inning.

After finishing the fifth for Greinke, Andre Scrubb returned for a scoreless sixth, working around a one-out walk. Still 3-0, Blake Taylor took over on the mound in the bottom of the seventh, erasing a leadoff single and two-out walk to keep Seattle from extending their lead. Houston had another chance to score in the top of the eighth, getting two runners in scoring position, but again would strand them.

Cy Sneed was the next reliever out for the Astros, working around a two-out walk to send the game on to the ninth. The Astros would avoid the shutout, getting a two-RBI single by pinch-hitting Josh Reddick in the top of the ninth to make it a one-run game at 3-2. That's as close as they'd come, though, as the Mariners would eventually get the final out to take the series and keep the Astros' magic number stagnant at 2.


Up Next: There is one series left in the regular season for Houston, and it awaits them in Arlington with a four-game series against the Rangers, who are well eliminated from playoff contention. The first of the four games will start at 7:05 PM Central on Thursday with a pitching matchup of Lance Lynn (6-2, 2.53 ERA) for Texas and Cristian Javier (4-2, 3.33 ERA) for the Astros.

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