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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Houston loses in San Francisco

Astros drop back-and-forth middle game to Giants to even series

Houston's offense couldn't keep up with the Giants on Saturday. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

With the impressive win in the opener to start the series, the Astros entered Saturday's middle game against the Giants with an opportunity to not just secure the series but surpass San Francisco for the best record in the league. They'd have to wait to take that crown, as the Giants would out-slug the Astros to even the series.

Final Score: Giants 8, Astros 6

Astros' Record: 64-41, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jay Jackson (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Blake Taylor (2-3)

Teams trade blows early, Giants chase Greinke out early

The teams traded blows early in this one, with the Giants tagging Zack Greinke with six runs, all on homers. The first was a solo shot in the bottom of the second to start the scoring before hitting one in each inning through the fourth: two-run blasts in the third and fourth, then a go-ahead solo shot in the bottom of the fifth, putting them ahead 6-5 at the time. Greinke would face one more batter, allowing a single to end his lackluster day: 4.0 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 4 HR, 93 P.

Houston's offense kept things close to try and keep Greinke in a position to win, going up 3-1 in the third on a two-run Aledmys Diaz homer and another coming in on an error. After San Francisco scored four unanswered to make it 5-3, Diaz homered again in the top of the fifth to cut the deficit to one run before Yuli Gurriel would tie it with an RBI double.

Astros stay in it, but Giants even the series by winning the slug-fest

With Greinke exiting with no outs in the fifth, Houston handed the ball to Phil Maton, acquired in the recent Myles Straw trade, to make his debut for his new team. He worked himself into a jam, allowing a single and hitting a batter to load the bases with one out, but was able to get back-to-back strikeouts to strike out the side and strand all three runners, keeping it a one-run game.

That proved pivotal in the top of the sixth, as with two outs, Martin Maldonado would launch a game-tying solo homer, making it 6-6. Blake Taylor took over out of the bullpen in the bottom of the inning but would face just three batters, getting two outs while leaving one on as Dusty Baker moved on to Cristian Javier. Javier would watch the Giants retake the lead, getting back-to-back singles to bring in a run and make it 7-6.

Javier stayed in the game in the bottom of the seventh, allowing a leadoff single but erasing it by striking out the next three batters. Still a 7-6 game in the bottom of the eighth, Yimi Garcia made his Astros debut but did not keep the score there, allowing a leadoff solo homer to make it a two-run game. The 8-6 score would go final as Houston's offense came up empty again in the top of the ninth, setting up a rubber game in the finale.

Up Next: The series finale will get underway at 3:05 PM Central on Sunday in San Francisco. Luis Garcia (7-5, 3.19 ERA) will take the mound for Houston, going opposite Logan Webb (4-3, 3.36 ERA) for the Giants.

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