TRAIL BLAZERS BEAT ROCKETS IN OT, 128-126

Here's what we learned from the Rockets' loss to the Trail Blazers

Rockets lose in OT. Photo by Getty Images.

How did the Portland Trail Blazers survive the depleted Houston Rockets roster? Well, 44 points and eight assists by CJ McCollum helped the Trail Blazers survive the Rockets' new offensive scoring attack. The scoring attack between James Harden and Christian Wood could not outdo Damian Lillard and McCollum.

Although, Harden and Wood combined for 75 points, McCollum and Lillard accumulated 76 points, which is only a point difference. The little things effected the Rockets' throughout Saturday night's game in Portland. Small turnovers, break downs in the back end of the defense, and open shots in the corner became hurtful to the Rockets in the closing minutes. There were countless times when McCollum had wide-open shots, including a game winner with six seconds left.

Stephen Silas the head coach for the Rockets commented on the use of Wood on defense. The idea with Wood was to monitor the guard play of the Blazers, so he was able to watch McCollum and Lillard. There were times when Wood played great one-on-one defense on Lillard. Lillard only shot 33 percent when guarded by Wood on offense.

"The defensive end is something we'll have to work on," Silas mentioned during his press conference. "These shooting guards coming off these pindowns, it's really a hard job to be able to be all the way up to take those away, but then not let the rollers roll below you."

Besides Wood's defense, he was impressive on offense because of his ability to stretch the floor. Wood became tougher going towards the rim and collected three tough offensive rebounds. Jusuf Nurkic struggled defending Wood around the perimeter, as he continued to create off the dribble 15 ft from the basket. Wood scored 12 points on 85 percent shooting versus Nurkic Saturday night. Wood finished with 31 points, 13 rebounds, and shot 63.6 percent from the field.

The Rockets started the game off hot offensively by scoring 68 points in the first half. It was incredible to watch the Rockets in transition, including their pace down the court. Everybody on the Rockets looked well-conditioned because of the pace they maintained throughout the game. Jae'Sean Tate benefited from this offensive play of the Rockets Saturday night. Seeing Tate in give-in-go opportunities allowed him to score on layups against the Blazers. Tate shot 55 percent from the field and scored 13 points off the bench.

Harden had a magnificent night by scoring 44 points and 17 assists, which is unbelievable. After having a tough week with the NBA, Harden was still able to almost lead this depleted roster to a victory. Harden came in shorthanded without having John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, and Eric Gordon and still was determined to beat the Blazers. Harden's engagement and communication with his teammates became important throughout the game. His offensive game was potent down the stretch, as Harden made tough layups and shots to push the Rockets to overtime.

James is really good. Regardless of what James does in his spare time, James is really f---ing good at basketball. Like, he's really good," McCollum mentioned in his press conference after the game.

As McCollum and Harden went back and forth, Harden couldn't answer, which resulted in a turnover to seal the game for the Blazers. Silas created an isolation play for James, so he was able to make a play but confusion with PJ Tucker resulted in a turnover. "I was trying to get an isolation at the top for [James Harden] and let him make the play," as Silas mentioned during the press conference after the game.

The Rockets could have won this game, but the Blazers should feel embarrassed by barely beating a depleted roster. This team will be dangerous once Wall, Cousins, and Gordon come back. Hopefully, the Rockets make adjustment as they play the Denver Nuggets Sunday.

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The Houston Texans have just a couple of practices before their preseason debut. Here are 11 observations from Tuesday’s workout.

1.The offense stunk on Tuesday. It was inconsistent and resembled more of last year’s disappointing performances than any other practices in this training camp.

2. Davis Mills and his receivers had a few miscommunications on Tuesday. Mills sailed a pass to nobody when he and Brandin Cooks weren’t on the same page. There were some other throws to nowhere in the day. It was something that hadn’t been present at all in training camp to this point.

3. There were a few “good coverage” notes on Tuesday. Not to say there was one specific player, but a handful of team-level efforts that led to the note.

4. It wasn’t all wrong from the offense. After a pass to nowhere Davis Mills and the offense bounced back. It was a second down during a team drill and Mills fired a pass to Chris Moore for six yards. Rex Burkhead would pick up a first down on a rush a play later. A non-positive play last year on first down doomed this team. That hopefully won’t be the case for this year’s team.

5. Chad Beebe is going into his fifth season in the NFL, his first with the Texans. The former Vikings pass catcher has flashed a few times in training camp. He has an uphill battle being new to the team but is trying to make himself a factor.

6. Phillip Dorsett had a big catch over the middle. Davis Mills stood back and delivered as the offensive line held up and Dorsett reeled it in for a huge gain. No defenders were around him. It is between Dorsett and Chris Moore for the chance to be the slot wideout opening day. With Dorsett’s return to practice, it is becoming a fun camp battle.

7.Speaking of returns to practice, Tytus Howard was back. Howard has his reps managed and after practice, offensive line coach George Warhop Howard was “getting his wind” back. When Howard was having his reps managed rookie tackle Austin Deculus played at right tackle. Deculus looks much more consistent than minicamp and OTAs.

8. Kenyon Green is still out with an injury. It is getting to a critical time where the time missed might prevent the first-rounder from starting week one. Max Scharping hasn’t looked bad in his chances with the first team. Offensive line coach George Warhop said they believe in Green and his ability and he has been in meetings to stay up to date.

9. Ka’imi Fairbairn was perfect in one of the special team periods. He drilled all five kicks, each further than the last, and was crushing the football.

10. Derek Stingley was very sticky in some early reps on Nico Collins. The third overall pick is so smooth when he is working. Later his coverage forced a throw from the offense that had no chance of being completed.

11. The play of the day was made by Derek Stingley. The offense was about five or six yards out of the end zone needing a touchdown to win. With six seconds left on the clock, any completed pass that wasn’t a touchdown was game over. Davis Mills dropped back a step and fired to Nico Collins who Stingley covered. The rookie kept the second-year player out of the end zone to earn the defense a win. This was one of the better Stingley days and he did a lot of work. At one point, it looked as though he and Rex Burkhead had some words and almost led to an offense and defense scuffle, but it stayed to just some shouting. The rookie shined today.

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