3 jump-out-the-gym reasons you should be watching the young gun Rockets

Get ready for a high-flying season! Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images.

"Light the fuse" is the Rockets' marketing slogan for this season. Teams come up with one of these slogans every year in order to build a campaign around said slogan in order to sell tickets and merch. Realistically speaking, this fuse may take a while to burn and pay off. However, the future is bright enough to have positive hope. There are a few things to look at and look forward to right now. Let's take a look and a few things to key in on this preseason that may lead to some things to look forward to in the upcoming season:

The new backcourt: Kevin Porter Jr and Jalen Green are the future in the backcourt for this team. KPJ was a steal in a trade last season from the Cavs. He had several moments last season, including a 50 point game, that warranted him getting a second chance in Houston despite the rocky start to his career in Cleveland. Green is the hot shot number two overall pick with unlimited potential. He's a scorer who needs to develop and unlock parts of his game that haven't been developed yet. These two guys are the Batman and Robin of the Rockets' future. Watching how they play together and how their chemistry is building will give a glimpse into the future of what this team can possibly do.

Supporting cast: Christian Wood is seen as one of the building blocks for this young team, but rumors of his poor attitude coupled with the known fact that he wants a max extension make him a candidate to either be traded, or not re-signed. Alperen Sengun (the second of the four first round picks taken in this past draft) makes Wood somewhat expendable if he can develop his game and adjust to the NBA. The Turkish rookie has the skill set most teams are looking for from their bigs nowadays (shooting, passing, rebounding). Josh Christopher and Usman Garuba were the other two first rounders. Christopher has a chance to be a scoring spark off the bench, while Garuba can be a defensive presence. Jae'Sean Tate and Kenyon Martin Jr are two holdovers from last year that look to figure prominently in the future of this team.

The rotation: An underestimated part of watching preseason basketball is seeing what guys will be in the regular season rotation. Most teams will use 8-10 guys every game. Preseason gives the coaches a chance to see who works well together and which guys deserve to start, come off the bench, the roles they'll play, and who gets more minutes. Lineups and rotations of course can change. Minutes will be dictated by who has the hot hand and matchups so they'll vary from night to night. One thing that stays consistent will be the group of guys getting the most playing time.

The Rockets have a very young team. They'll be fun to watch because of their overall athletic ability to produce highlights. Will they threaten for a playoff spot? Most likely they won't, unless it's one of the last play-in spots. This will prompt most casual fans to drop. I'd encourage them to stay. This young group seems to be having fun together. If they enjoy each other this much and can build & grow together, it'll make them the next up and coming, must-watch team in the league. I say watch and get to know these guys now, rather than looking to hop on the bandwagon after it gets rolling.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

Boston's two grand slams in the first two innings were too much for Houston to overcome in ALCS Game 2. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

After a win in ALCS Game 1 that had the prototypical fingerprints of this Astros team all over it, Houston returned to Minute Maid Park on Saturday, hoping to take a dominant 2-0 series lead if they could grab another victory. The Red Sox dashed those hopes very early, though, scoring eight runs across the first two innings to build the lead they would hold on to even the series.

Final Score: Boston 9, Astros 5

ALCS Series (Best of Seven): tied 1-1

Winning Pitcher: Nathan Eovaldi

Losing Pitcher: Luis Garcia

Houston met with disaster to start Game 2

You couldn't have drawn up a much better start for the Red Sox or a worse one for the Astros in Saturday's ALCS Game 2. Luis Garcia met early disaster in the top of the first inning, allowing a leadoff double, then got two outs while issuing two walks to load the bases. That brought up Boston's designated hitter, J.D. Martinez, to the plate, and he delivered a crushing blow to Houston, launching a grand slam to put the Red Sox up 4-0 before Houston could even get to the plate.

After a scoreless bottom of the inning by his offense, things got worse for Garcia in the top of the second, as after issuing a four-pitch walk to start the frame, he would become the center of a meeting at the mound with trainers, ultimately leaving the game with an injury. Houston opted to bring in Jake Odorizzi for the emergency call to the bullpen, but things did not start well for him either. He would put two of his own batters on base with two singles, then gave up the second grand slam in as many innings, this one to Rafael Devers to double Boston's lead to 8-0, doubling down on Houston's disastrous start to the game.

Odorizzi rebounded with a 1-2-3 third, but with one out in the top of the fourth allowed a solo homer to Kiké Hernández, his third homer of the series so far. He would still get the job done of eating up a few innings, finishing the fourth, and retiring Boston in order in the fifth, giving Houston just four more innings to cover with the rest of their relievers.

Astros get a few runs back

Over that span, Houston did trim the lead by three runs, getting an RBI double by Kyle Tucker and a two-RBI single by Yuli Gurriel in the bottom of the fourth, making it a six-run game at 9-3. Their next reliever was Blake Taylor in the top of the sixth, and he would keep the score where it stood by sitting down the three batters he faced that frame.

The Astros threatened again in the bottom of the sixth, getting two singles to put two aboard, but would come out empty, sending the game on to the seventh, where Taylor would remain on the mound. He faced three more batters, getting two out while allowing a single before Yimi Garcia would come in to get the third out.

Red Sox even the series as it shifts to Boston

Garcia returned in the top of the eighth, getting through that inning despite a walk and hit by pitch, stranding both runners. Boston's bullpen kept Houston from getting any closer in the bottom of the eighth, then Ryne Stanek came in for the Astros in the top of the ninth. Stanek allowed a leadoff double, but with a groundout and double play, held the score at 9-3. Yuli Gurriel and Jason Castro did their part to keep the Astros alive in the bottom of the ninth, each hitting solo homers to make it 9-5, but that's as close as they'd come, dropping Game 2 to tie the series at one game apiece.

Up Next: The ALCS now moves to Boston for the next three games after a day off on Sunday, with Game 3 on Monday at 7:08 PM Central. While the Astros have named Jose Urquidy as their starter, the Red Sox have not yet determined theirs.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome