INSIDE THE ROCKETS

Ryan Anderson: Return to the Rockets is "full circle"

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Ryan Anderson approached his media scrum after training camp practice on Saturday as if he was meeting an old group of friends. "It's good to see you guys again," Anderson said, with smiles all around. "It feels like I never left."

Anderson is, of course, referencing his two-year tenure with the Houston Rockets that ended last summer when he was traded to the Phoenix Suns. Anderson found tremendous success with the Rockets, providing quality floor spacing that helped form the identity of the team that would eventually go toe-to-toe with the Golden State Warriors and almost win. After a year of bouncing from team to team, seemingly in NBA purgatory, Anderson landed back with the Rockets this summer. To say he relished the opportunity to return to his old stomping ground is an understatement.

"It's an amazing feeling," Anderson said. "It's an easy adjustment back with this group. The system is obviously the same. Just playing the other day for the first time again with these guys, it's like there's no adjustment period."

While the Rockets haven't formally promised him a roster spot, Anderson was offered a minimum deal with $250,000 being guaranteed money, significantly more than players like Anthony Bennet, Michael Frazier, and Ben McLemore. Anderson also has familiarity with a lot of the players, Mike D'Antoni's system, and the way Houston wants to play so it gives him a real leg up on some of the newcomers. The way things currently stand, there's a strong chance he won't have to sell the condo he bought (and kept) in Houston several years ago.

"This team has, just like when I was here a few years ago, high hopes to win a championship," Anderson said. "The less time I take to get adjusted to the system in the right way, the better. I'm ready to help the team the best I can."

Although, Anderson isn't just satisfied with grabbing a roster spot. After a brutal season in which he only logged 25 games and 322 minutes, he wants to prove to the NBA that he can still contribute to a contender. After being much maligned for his contract and traded to clean up Houston's financial situation last season, Anderson struggled to find consistent roles with both the Phoenix Suns and the Miami Heat. A tough journey he describes as "humbling."

"Obviously I would like to bounce back from last year," said Anderson. "It feels good to be back with a group that has an identity. I know what that identity is and what the main goal is. I feel really good to be back. That's just how life is sometimes. It's full circle."

Anderson averaged 11.6 points and 4.8 rebounds on 39.6% three-point shooting when he played for Houston. Before signing Anderson, the Rockets had a noticeable hole at backup power forward plus a need for size and floor spacing. Houston isn't a team known to making novelty signings. Anderson will have an opportunity to earn real minutes and play a role if he proves himself viable in training camp.

"My journey has been one of many mental struggles," Anderson said. "Last year was a tough challenge for me. Something that I've never experienced before. It was difficult. I feel very fortunate to be very to be where I'm at right now. To have a chance to play for a great team, to produce, and to do what I can do. This team knows me very well and knows what I'm capable of. I feel very fortunate to be back here."

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Houston's losing streak extended to five games

With key Astros missing, Detroit completes the series sweep

An overall bad day for the Astros on Wednesday. Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

On Wednesday afternoon, the Astros received a big blow to their chances in the series finale against Detroit and potentially longer. Five players: Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Martin Maldonado, and Robel Garcia would all be moved to the IL due to health and safety protocols, leaving them scrambling to get a whole team together for the game against the Tigers.

The Astros would not be able to overcome both the loss of players and the onslaught of another strong start by Detroit in Wednesday's game which put them too far out front for Houston to come back from to avoid a series sweep.

Final Score: Tigers 6, Astros 4

Astros' Record: 6-6, third in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Michael Fulmer (1-0)

Losing Pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (1-1)

Tigers knock out another starter early

Detroit continued their success of making Houston's starter work hard in early innings, getting after Lance McCullers Jr., and giving him an early exit. After a lengthy fist, they broke through in the second getting two hits, a walk, a hit batter, and an RBI groundout to put up three runs on 34 pitches.

He would have a quicker 1-2-3 third, but after giving up a single, a walk, and hitting another batter to load the bases and reach 87 pitches, he would be removed in favor of Joe Smith. Smith would allow all three of the inherited runners to score, adding those runs to McCullers Jr.'s final line: 3.2 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 87 P.

Astros try to claw back into it

After Smith would go on to load the bases again in the inning, still with two outs, Houston made another pitching change to bring in Brandon Bielak to get the third out and stop the bleeding at 6-0. The Astros would get on the board in the fifth, getting a runner on base to set up a two-run homer by Jason Castro to cut the lead to 6-2.



Bielak remained in the game to try and eat up as many innings as possible. While he continued to hold the Tigers to their six runs through the six innings, the Astros clawed back into the game. In the bottom of the sixth, Houston put their first two batters on base with a walk and single before an RBI-single by Yuli Gurriel to make it 6-3. They would threaten for more but be held there for the time being.

Astros can't cash in, Tigers complete sweep

Ryne Stanek was Houston's next reliever in the top of the seventh, getting a 1-2-3 frame to keep it a three-run game, as did Brooks Raley in the eighth. In the home part of the inning, the Astros put their first two runners on base on an error and a walk, then loaded them with a one-out single by Carlos Correa. They'd waste their chance to make something happen, though, with an inning-ending double-play.

Ryan Pressly, who had no save opportunities in recent games, entered to get some work in the top of the ninth. He worked around a leadoff double for a scoreless inning, sending the 6-3 game to the bottom of the ninth. The Astros had yet another chance to make something happen, loading the bases with no outs to bring the go-ahead run to the plate. After two outs, Yuli Gurriel would bring one run in with a walk, but that's as close as they'd come, extending their losing streak to five games and getting swept by the Tigers.

Up Next: Houston will get a much-needed day off tomorrow to try and leave this poor homestand behind them. They'll pick things up in Seattle on Friday, with first pitch of the opener of three games at 9:10 PM Central. The expected pitching matchup is Jose Urquidy (0-1, 5.23 ERA) for the Astros and Yusei Kikuchi (0-0, 3.75 ERA) for the Mariners.

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