POINT BLANK

Joel Blank: The Warriors are coming. Are Rockets fans ready to step up?

Steph Curry and the Warriors are coming. Patrick Smith/Getty Images

You asked for it, you got it! Toyota Center better be rocking when the Rockets need you the most!

It's the matchup everyone wanted to see ever since the Chris Paul trade. The two teams that everyone wanted in the Western Conference Finals are about to tango. The Rockets have been obsessed with the Golden State Warriors for over a year. Halfway through the season, Daryl Morey came out and admitted that this team was "obsessed" with the champs and built for a matchup with Golden State. The Warriors are the reigning champions and are the team that everybody has marked on their calendar as must see TV. They are the gold standard, pun intended, and it's one thing to pack the house to see them play in the regular season, it’s on another level when it can determine who goes to the Finals. The obsession is now a reality and dreams can come true if the Rockets and their fans can live up to the expectations that they have set for themselves.

Houston played all year to capture home court advantage and have a series deciding contest in their house. They felt like they were evenly matched with Golden State and the difference could be having that Game 7 on the Toyota Center floor instead of at Oracle Arena. With that in mind, they took care of business in the regular season and even took it a step further and assured themselves of home court throughout the NBA Finals by having the best record in the entire league.The time is now to make sure that there is some value in that achievement and Red Nation needs to step up big at the biggest time of the year. That means showing up on time and staying late, while they cheer loud and make sure that the world knows this can be a basketball town too. Texas is known as a football state, and that goes for the city of Houston too. They do a great job supporting the Texans, but have also proven to be a heck of a baseball community as they rocked the roof off of Minute Maid Park during the Astros run to a World Series title. Why then has it taken so long to do the same thing for the hometown hoop team?

So far this postseason, and let's be honest, in the regular season as well, attendance at Rockets games has been anything but stellar. Whether it's traffic, parking, ticket prices, family commitments or other excuses, Houstonians are quick to be on the defensive, but not as quick to jump behind their basketball team and support their efforts to return the community to the days of Clutch City.  I don't wanna hear any of the excuses and believe me, I have heard them all season long as you have called the radio station and tried to defend your actions, or lack thereof? I know the failures of playoffs past have not helped and James Harden has let you down. But that was then, this is now and you could help write the script for the future. I'm not looking for more defensive fans, I'm looking for a solution that puts butts in seats, and does so on time. Maybe a match up with the Warriors is just what the doctor ordered and the inspiration that H-town needed?

Look across the league and all the cities that have a team that participated in this year's playoffs and for the most part you will find a community that is passionate about their hoop squad and fans that are rabid. They are in their seats way before tip off and raucous, creating an environment that makes it difficult for the visiting team to hear, let alone execute a play. Meanwhile in Houston, the regular season laissez-faire  attitude of the fan base has continued over into the first round and a half of the postseason. With Houston one game away from the Conference Finals and likely meeting the Warriors, it's time to put the past behind us and step up to help this team in the biggest series it has faced since they last lost to Golden State in the 2016 West finals. Fans forget that a season full of hard work that earned them this huge edge if it comes down to one final game, can all be lost if this team falters in one of its first three home contests against the "Dubs." This Rockets team did its part by earning the best record and all the accolades that come with it, it's now time for the fan base to do their part and back this team when it needs you the most. I don't care if it's a 7 o'clock game or an 8:30 late night affair, I expect you to be there and be on time. I would love to see a sea of red T shirts on rabid Rockets fans as they welome the squad with the best record in the NBA onto the floor for pre-game warmups, instead of a sea of T shirts stuck on the backs of empty chairs as people continue to dress up like empty seats come tipoff time.

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Houston dropped two of three

Astros drop series finale to Oakland, A's win series

Jose Urquidy couldn't hold Oakland back on Saturday. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

With Oakland finally ending their drought against the Astros on Friday night to split the first two games of the series, and with the Angels staying in step with them as both teams started the day 6-2, the Astros needed a win to keep momentum in their favor on Saturday.

Instead, Oakland would outslug Houston once again to take the series finale and take the series win. The loss moves Houston to 6-3 and down to second place, at least for now, until the 6-2 Angels complete their game on Saturday evening.

Final Score: A's 7, Astros 3

Astros' Record: 6-3, second in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Frankie Montas (1-1)

Losing Pitcher: Jose Urquidy (0-1)

Urquidy gives up four over six

Much like the night before, Oakland was able to bring in runs against Houston's starter, this time Jose Urquidy, Saturday afternoon in their second time through the order. Their first time through, Urquidy was cruising, allowing just one baserunner in the first three innings on a single in the top of the third.

Things shifted in the top of the fourth, with the A's getting back-to-back singles to set the stage for a two-run frame with dual RBI-singles to take a 2-0 lead. Oakland doubled that in the fifth, getting a two-out single to set up a two-run homer by Ramon Laureano to make it 4-0. Urquidy would go on to finish six innings, but with no run support to that point, would leave in line for the loss. His final line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 93 P.

A's pad their lead before Houston gets on the board

Meanwhile, although getting five hits, the Astros could not get anything on the board against Frankie Montas through six innings. Brandon Bielak took over out of the bullpen for Urquidy in the top of the seventh, but after loading the bases, he would allow a dagger two-RBI single to make it a 6-0 deficit for Houston.

With Montas starting the seventh looking to face a batter or two before Oakland moved to their bullpen, Kyle Tucker would finally get Houston on the board with a leadoff solo home run, cutting the lead to 6-1 and ending Montas' day. Houston would get a two-out rally going, with an RBI-double by Jose Altuve followed by an RBI-triple by Michael Brantley to make it a three-run game at 6-3.

Oakland takes the series win

Ryne Stanek tried to keep it a three-run game and give the Astros a chance to stay in it in the top of the eighth but instead would give up a two-out solo home run to push Oakland's lead back to four. That 7-3 score would go final as Houston would go scoreless in the eighth and ninth.

Up Next: Houston will have a day off on Sunday before continuing this homestand Monday night by welcoming in Detroit and former manager A.J. Hinch for three games. In the series opener, the Tigers will send young star Casey Mize (0-0, 2.25 ERA) to the mound, while the Astros will get another start by Zack Greinke (1-0, 1.38 ERA).

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