Is Gordon the Savior?

How badly do the Rockets miss Eric Gordon?

Jonathan Daniel

How badly do the Rockets miss Eric Gordon?

Eric Gordon's last game played was against the New Orleans Pelicans. He suffered a knee injury that has him sidelined for 4-6 weeks. Recently, it shows that the Rockets need him late in game situations.

In the last three games, the Rockets have struggled in the 4th quarter. Teams are starting double James Harden late in games. Harden's dominance has caused for multiple double teams this season.

Russell Westbrook is having good season by shooting 41.4% from the field. As seen, Westbrook has no problem getting to the rim, shooting from underneath the arc, or finishing on fast breaks. He has struggled shooting the ball from three this season. Westbrook is now shooting 23% from three. This is something Westbrook has told the press after his divesting playoff lost against the Portland trailblazers. Late In 4th quarters, Westbrook has missed game tying open threes. That was seen against the Los Angeles Clippers and Dallas Mavericks. Westbrook has never been shy of the moment before but now questions circulate. Has he taken too much of a back seat to Harden?

Gordon has struggled shooting the ball from the field before his knee injury. He is at a season low averaging 10.9 ppg. Gordon is also shooting the ball at 30.9% from the field. He has never shot the ball this poorly in his career. Since his tenure with the Rockets, Gordon has been reliable. His most reliable moments are in the 4th quarter. All last season, Gordon made major shots in the 4th quarter. In the last three quarters of last season, Gordon was averaging 18.4ppg, shooting the ball at 40.9% from the field, and shooting 36.9% at the three point line. In order for Gordon to help the Rockets, he has to overcome his struggles.

This season has been struggle for Gordon but it can be turned around. Gordon has to live up to expectations since he signed that big contract this past summer. The Rockets do need him back because these double teams on Harden will not stop.

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Houston needs a win to advance

ALWC Game 2 Preview: Astros vs. Twins

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

It took all nine innings, but the Astros rallied late and took Game 1 by a score of 4-1 and are in the driver's seat in this best-of-three series. They'll return to Target Field, home of the Twins, on Wednesday afternoon to try and get the win and advance to the ALDS. Here's what you need to know about Game 2:

Game Facts

When: Wednesday, 12:08 PM Central

Where: Target Field - Minneapolis, Minnesota

TV: ESPN 2

Streaming: ESPN App

Pitching Matchup: Jose Urquidy+ vs. José Berríos.

Series: HOU leads 1-0.

Series Schedule

Date & Time (Central) Location Pitching Matchup
Game 1 Astros 4, Twins 1 Target Field, Minneapolis Greinke vs. Maeda
Game 2 Wed 9/30, 12:08 PM Target Field, Minneapolis Urquidy+ vs. Berríos
Game 3* Thu 10/1, 12:08 PM Target Field, Minneapolis McCullers Jr.+ vs. Pineda+

* If necessary.
+ Projected starters.

Game Storylines

Houston's offense has to get going earlier

The Twins' error in the ninth inning in Game 1 was a gift for the Astros that they were able to take advantage of and score the winning runs. It's unlikely to be handed another chance like that in the postseason, so in Game 2, it's paramount that Houston creates their own opportunities at the plate.

The good news is, every batter in the lineup was able to reach base in the first game, either by hit or walk. However, they would go 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position while leaving nine on base during the game. Because they can't expect to have two pitchers to combine for a one-run game on Wednesday, they will have to carry over the momentum from the end of Game 1 into Game 2 to build a lead their bullpen can carry.

Trust your arms to navigate through

Whether it's Jose Urquidy, who is the likely candidate, or anyone else who ends up starting Wednesday's game, the Astros have to be prepared to have a longer stretch of innings filled by their bullpen. Despite his struggles to end the regular season, Greinke did well only to allow one run to the Twins over his four innings in Game 1.

You should expect a similar outcome in Game 2, where hopefully your starter can hold the Twins at bay for as long as they can before needing to make the change to relievers. It will be interesting to see how Dusty Baker plays that situation, mostly dependent on the score at the time, as he could have someone like Cristian Javier come in for multiple innings. The only thing the Astros shouldn't do is fire too many of their bullets and put their chances in a potential Game 3 at risk.

Be sure to check SportsMap after the final out for an in-depth recap of the game, and follow me on Twitter for updates and reactions throughout each playoff game: @ChrisCampise

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