THE NBA OFF-SEASON

John Granato: Hey, Rockets fan - it's time to man up

It's time for Rockets fans to get over the off-season. Revelry on Richmond / Facebook

I can’t believe how almost everyone has lost his mind this NBA offseason. I say his mind because I haven’t heard any women complaining about it. Women are far more level headed about these types of things. Either that or they don’t care what LeBron or Boogie Cousins does. Count me amongst those ladies.

That’s right. I don’t care. Nothing has changed. Nothing.

The Rockets are still the team to beat in the West. Lest we forget it was the Rockets that had the best record in the league. It was the Rockets that had the MVP. It was the Rockets that had the NBA’s executive of the year. It was the Rockets who had a 3-2 lead over the Warriors before Chris Paul went down.

Please don’t tell me that it was the same as Andre Iguadala getting hurt. A guy who has $5 million and loses a million is a lot better off than a guy who has $2 million and loses a million. He still has $4 million. The other guy only has one and apparently you can’t buy a 3-pointer with $1 million. Didn’t know that until after the game. Found out the hard way.

I heard last week that the Lakers signed LeBron James. It really didn’t get much coverage but I have sources who have confirmed it. And? How has this changed anything? Even if Kawhi goes there, which I think is unlikely but could well happen. So? Chances are they will have to give up some of  their young talent. If they lose Kuzma and Ingram bringing Kawhi in they’re not going to be better than the Rockets. We’ve seen teams with stars and no supporting cast before. They always fizzle out.

If I was Magic Johnson I’d take a page out of William Wallace’s playbook. (That’s a Braveheart reference for you younger readers.)

Hooooold. Hooooold. Hooooold.

Magic, do not trade away your good young players when you can just wait a year and get Kawhi for free. LeBron will be there waiting patiently. The young guys will get a dose of what it’s like playing with his majesty in pressure situations and your organization will be set up to win over the long haul.

Why am I giving Magic good advice? I hope he trades them all away and stinks forever.

On to Boogie Cousins. Everyone is freaking out over this. Why? First of all he’s not going to be there until March and when he does get there is he really going to make that big a difference? The Warriors didn’t use a center against the Rockets in the postseason. Would they use Boogie? Yes, probably unless the Rockets take advantage of his lazy defensive tendencies and Steve Kerr has to pull him. That’s if he isn’t already on the outs with Kerr because he’s pouting about not getting touches. That’s if he actually comes back full strength from the Achilles. That’s if he can actually handle playoff pressure which he’s never had. That’s if he’s not a round peg in a square hole on this team. That’s if. That’s if. That’s if.

There are no guarantees that the one year Boogie Cousins experiment works. If you’ll remember correctly, the Pelicans were better without him and the Warriors have been pretty good without him.

But the Rockets were better.

And they still are.

But wait. They don’t have Trevor Ariza anymore. You’re not better without Ariza, not now at least. If I had told you that PJ Tucker, Luc Mbah Moute and Gerald Green would be key contributors to you passing the Warriors as best in the West you’d have laughed. But it happened and the executive of the year can make it happen again. I’m not sure what those names are right now. Daryl might not know right now either.

But no one knew at this time last year that the Rockets would do what they did and it appears that no one thinks they can do it again. I’ve heard that a few times. That was their one shot.

Why? Why can’t they be as good or better than last year? What if Chris Paul is healthy throughout the playoffs? What if he plays 70 games instead of 58?  What if Clint Capela is even better than he was last year and why shouldn’t he be? What if Eric Gordon gets back to sixth man of the year form?

There are about 100 games ahead to play. You never know. That everyone is throwing in the towel in July is silly to me. Let’s stop whining about how unfair it is how good the Warriors are.

This reminds me of when Johnny Fontaine was crying because he couldn’t get the big role in a major motion picture “Godfather I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do.” Vito shot back, “You can act like a man!”

Come on Rockets fans. Act like a man.  






 

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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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