ADDING DEPTH

Patrick Creighton: Rockets get just what they needed

Brandon Wright is exactly what the Rockets needed. NBA.COM

All season, I have held this to be true: After James Harden, Clint Capela is the most indispensable Rocket.

I know, I know.  You just want to jump out of your seat and scream at me, “Come on, Creight! Chris Paul? Ever hear of him?”   Believe it or not, I have, but I didn’t say who was the bigger name, bigger star, or better player, I said who was the most indispensable.  That’s why its been Capela.

It’s Capela because the Rockets haven’t had another player like him.  They didn’t have someone with his size and skill set to run the offense the same way when he wasn’t on the floor.  The high pick-and-roll with Harden and Capela has become a staple in the Rockets offense.  Capela is the team’s best rebounder and only legitimate rim protector.  Where Harden and Eric Gordon can compensate for missing Chris Paul for a while, no one on the roster can bring what Capela does on the floor.

Until now.

While most people are excited about the prospect of the Rockets signing Joe Johnson as a free agent, I’m much more excited about the team bringing on Brandan Wright.

The Rockets have needed another big man for a while, but not just any big body.  They needed someone athletic, who can finish at the basket, protect the rim, rebound, play defense, and run the floor the way Capela does.  A traditional low post big body center doesn’t fit what the Rockets do, especially offensively.

Wright is exactly that kind of athletic big who can run the floor.  With a skill set similar to Capela’s, the Rockets no longer need to change their offense when Capela is off the floor.   

While miscast in Memphis with the grind-it-out Grizzlies, he’s averaged 5 pts, 3.5 boards and a block in under 14 mins per game this season.  Previously, in a more up tempo style in Dallas, he showed more scoring production.  With the ball moving skills of Chris Paul and James Harden, it should be expected his point production would improve, but a block a game in under 14 mins?  That’s the other rim protector the Rockets needed.

While Joe Johnson is a bigger name and someone Rockets fans are likely more familiar with, Wright could very well be the more important signing.

 

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Houston gets back in the win column

Astros end six-game skid thanks to a gem by Greinke

Zack Greinke tossed a gem Saturday night. Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

After the Mariners roared back Friday night to get a walk-off win over the Astros, dashing their hopes of ending their losing streak, Houston tried to even the series with a win on Saturday night with their ace Zack Greinke on the mound. Greinke would do his part, throwing a terrific game, and the Astros would squeak out one run, which was enough to get back in the win column.

Final Score: Astros 1, Mariners 0

Astros' Record: 7-7, fourth in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Zack Greinke (2-1)

Losing Pitcher: Chris Flexen (1-1)

Plenty of hits, but only one run

Although the Astros were racking up hits against Chris Flexen, they had little to show for it. Eight different batters would notch ten hits against him, but the only time it amounted to a run was on a two-out RBI-single by Taylor Jones in the top of the fourth, giving Houston a 1-0 lead.

Greinke spins a gem

Luckily for them, Zack Greinke was making it look like that would be enough. He cruised through the Mariners all night, allowing just four hits while giving up zero runs along with six strikeouts, one of which moved him past 2,700 on his career. He could have attempted to finish the complete-game shutout, but at 91 pitches after eight, Dusty Baker opted to bring in closer Ryan Pressly for the ninth. Greinke's final line: 8.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K, 91 P.

Houston finally ends their losing streak

With the high-leverage save opportunity in the bottom of the ninth, Ryan Pressly entered to hold on to the one-run lead. He would do his job, finishing off the win for Greinke and putting an end to Houston's disappointing losing streak.

Up Next: The third and final game of this series will get underway at 3:10 PM Central on Sunday. Jake Odorizzi (0-1, 13.50 ERA) will look to make a rebound from his disappointing first start with the Astros, while the Mariners will start Nick Margevicius (0-1, 7.04 ERA).

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