A LOOK AHEAD

John Granato: Things that will happen at some point in the Rockets-Warriors series

James Harden's Rockets and the Warriors will make you think about several things this series. Rockets.com

At some point in this series…

You will marvel at how pretty Steph Curry’s jumper is.

The refs will have to decide on a flagrant one or two on Draymond Green.

You will hate Kevin Durant’s mouthpiece.

You will see a picture of Clint Capela next to this quote: “We are better than them.”

You will wonder why Draymond Green thought those clothes all went together.

At some point in this series…

Charles Barkley will say the Rockets just aren’t good enough.

You will laugh when James Harden and Draymond Green flop simultaneously.

You will wonder why Steph Curry took that crazy shot but then it goes in and you just shake your head.

You will be jealous of how pretty Oracle Arena looks just before tipoff.

At some point in this series…

You will jump out of your seat and yell at Draymond Green even though he can’t hear you because you’re in your house.

You will wonder why Gerald Green took that crazy shot but then it goes in and you just shake your head.

You will think that Klay Thompson is not really all that good at basketball.

You will think that Klay Thompson is unstoppable.

Draymond Green and P.J. Tucker will get tangled up and tempers will flare.

At some point in this series...

James Harden will make one of the prettiest passes you’ve ever seen.

The refs will have to look at another Draymond Green foul to see if it was a flagrant one or two.

The announcer will mention that this is Chris Paul’s first trip to the Conference Finals.

James Harden will walk around with his hands out in disbelief at a call.

Chris Paul and Kevin Durant will trade big mid-range jumpers.

At some point in this series...

Trevor Ariza will hit a huge 3 that will bring the crowd to its feet.

You will think the Warriors uniforms are cool.

You will throw something at your TV because of Draymond Green.

Charles Barkley will admit that he was wrong and the Rockets are better than he thought.

You will think that these Warriors might be the best basketball team you’ve ever seen.

At some point in this series…

Draymond Green’s leg will have a spastic attack and he’ll kick someone in a bad place.

James Harden will make one of the ugliest passes you’ve ever seen.

Steve Kerr will have a hair out of place.

Warriors fans will scream that James Harden just walked.

You will wonder why Chris Paul thought those clothes all went together.

At some point in this series…

P.J. Tucker will hit a huge 3 that will bring the crowd to its feet.

The refs will have to decide if another Draymond Green foul was a flagrant one or two.

You will hate Steph Curry’s mouthpiece

Draymond Green will skip down the court nodding and smiling and taunting the Toyota Center crowd.

At some point in this series…

You will worry that Clint Capela will get a max offer from another team this offseason

You will hate that there are so many days off between games.

You will hate Draymond Green.

James Harden will have a shot that will decide his big game legacy.

You will be proud of your Rockets.















 

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Yordan Alvarez's homer in Wednesday's game gave him 100 RBI on the season. Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Winners of three straight, six of their last seven, and eight of their last ten, the Astros had the chance to move yet another game closer to clinching their playoff spot if they could secure the series with a win against the Angels on Wednesday. Even though it looked as though they were headed towards a loss in extra innings, they would ultimately come out ahead.

Final Score (12 innings): Astros 9, Angels 5

Astros' Record: 91-61, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Yimi Garcia (4-9)

Losing Pitcher: Sam Selman (0-1)

Garcia goes six shutout innings

Although he didn't have swing-and-miss dominance in this start, Luis Garcia could still capitalize on a struggling Angels offense and post a shutout quality start against them. He allowed three walks and three hits throughout his outing but stranded all of them while getting outs on balls in play. His final line: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 79 P.

Alvarez reaches 100 RBI as Houston's offense keeps rolling

That performance had Garcia in line for the win, as two homers handed him a 3-0 advantage which he held. Houston once again used early offense to take a first-inning lead, as a leadoff walk by Jose Altuve turned into a monster 456-foot by Yordan Alvarez, pushing him to 100 RBI on the season. The score held at 2-0 until the top of the fifth, when Jason Castro led that frame off with a solo homer to extend the lead to three runs.

Extras in Anaheim

Phil Maton was first out of Houston's bullpen in the bottom of the seventh, but a single, double, and walk loaded the bases with no outs to put him in a jam. A lineout kept the runners put for the first out, but a single and a walk would make it a one-run game and left the bases loaded as Maton would get pulled.

Kendall Graveman entered to try and stop the bleeding, but after a force out at home to put that within reach, Jack Mayfield came through for Los Angeles with a go-ahead three-run double, giving the Angels their first lead of the series at 5-3. In the top of the eighth, a walk by Alex Bregman brought Alvarez back to the plate, and he would nearly miss a game-tying homer and instead got an RBI-single to make it 5-4.

Alvarez would still come in to tie the game, hustling home from second on an RBI single by Yuli Gurriel to knot things up 5-5. Brooks Raley was Houston's next reliever, and he sat down LA in order with two strikeouts. Still tied in the bottom of the ninth, Ryan Pressly came in to force extras, and despite being shadowed by the winning run on the bases after a leadoff single, retired the next three batters to send the game to the tenth.

Astros keep battling and take it in the twelfth

Jake Meyers took second base as Houston's free runner in the top of the tenth, but he would go nowhere as the Astros went down in order, giving the Angels another chance at a walk-off. Instead of giving Shohei Ohtani a free pass immediately, Houston would let Blake Taylor throw two balls to him before giving him the intentional walk.

Taylor then gave up a single to load the bases with no outs, and after getting a force out at home for the first out, Yimi Garcia would replace him. Thanks to a great play by Chas McCormick, giving him multiple in the game, the Astros would live to see another inning as he would make a great catch in right field and then throw out Ohtani at home.

In the top of the eleventh, a sac fly by Yuli Gurriel moved Aledmys Diaz to third, but that's as close as Houston would come, leaving them stuck at five runs. After Garcia retired three more batters in the bottom of the eleventh, the game moved to the twelfth, where Houston would get back in front on an RBI single by Jake Meyers, then padded the new lead on a two-RBI double by Jose Altuve, who would also score on a sac fly by Alex Bregman, making it 9-5. Josh James came in and wrapped things up in the bottom half as Houston secured the series victory and reduced their magic number to two against Oakland and three against Seattle.

Up Next: The finale of this four-game series, and the last time these two teams will meet this year, will be an 8:38 PM Central start on Thursday. The expected pitching matchup is Alex Cobb (8-3, 3.59 ERA) for Los Angeles and Lance McCullers Jr. (12-4, 3.11 ERA) for Houston.

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