PLAYING THE PONIES

Sam Houston Race Park selections for Friday, March 6

Coady photography

Here are my selections for Friday night at Sam Houston Race Park. These are not meant to be in exact order, but merely the four horses I think have the best chance to win. For beginners, I suggest exacta boxes with three horses, using two of mine and one of your own. And you can always pick up a copy of Acing Racing 2016 to learn everything you need to know. (These are the picks and format that are available on the free tip sheet at SHRP).

FIRST
4-1-2-3
MEN OF KYLE has been off since September but will be in the mix if ready


SECOND
1-6-4-7
TELL ME U LOVE ME gets back in with maidens off a nice stakes effort


THIRD
10-1-3-7
MISTER STRANGE was no match for winner in last but catches an easier group


FOURTH
5-1-3-8
RAMBLIN FEVER was only beaten a length against slightly tougher last out


FIFTH

8-9-1-4
CHAMPAGNE'S ON ICE was not bad in meet debut; barn winning at a nice clip

SIXTH

3-2-8-6
PROSPECTOR FEVER has been tough this meet at this level


SEVENTH
5-1-2-6
MADISON'S WILD ONE lost the race at the start in last; prior was impressive


EIGHTH
1-3-6-5
EXCITING is very tough at this trip if the race stays on the grass


NINTH
5-7-2-1
SUNDANCE SEVEN might pop on the turn back in distance


TENTH
9-6-4-3

ON TILT should be a nice fit in this group shipping in from Oaklawn


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ROCKETS FALL TO WARRIORS

Critical takeaways from Rockets' 105-103 loss to Warriors

Rockets fall short against Warriors. Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

This wasn't the typical Houston Rockets-Golden St. Warriors game when Mike D' Antoni and Steve Kerr were having an offensive battle of wits. James Harden, who plays for the Brooklyn Nets, was nowhere in sight for the Rockets Friday night. Although the Rockets are in rebuild mode, it was still an interesting game. The intensity was high throughout the entire game. Emotions between Stephen Silas and Kerr were heavy, as they were yelling and jumping up-and-down along the sidelines.

A series of runs and back-and-forth scoring gave a slight reminder of the old rivalry between the Warriors and Rockets. Steph Curry was having a tough game, but with 5.1 seconds left, he was able to create great separation from a step back and drained an incredible midrange shot over Kevin Porter Jr. It was heartbreaking because Porter played great defense on Curry throughout the entire game, with Curry only making 6 out of 22 shots. Porter had a tremendous first-half defensively on Curry and recorded an 88.9 defensive rating. Porter had a good feel for guarding Curry, he didn't allow himself to switch away from him. He anticipated passing lanes and ripped Curry a couple of times.

Besides Porter playing great defense, the Rockets played good as a whole. They finished with 10 steals. Their main technique was to switch everything on defense, and Kenyon Martin Jr. and Christian Wood did a good job. It's never easy staying in front of Curry and Jordan Poole, but if they could hold their ground for five seconds, it became possible. Porter did a great job at times by communicating on defense, so he could tell Jalen Green and Eric Gordon when to switch.

And speaking of Green--- he had a strange night offensively. He went 0-11 from the field but made two great plays in the fourth quarter. Instead of Silas keeping Green on the bench because of his cold hand, he kept him in the game for learning purposes. Green made an outstanding play on Curry at the 2:52 mark in the 4th quarter. Before that, he missed a shot from three but fought hard for the rebound, then found a cutting Wood towards the rim. Green might of struggled, but the effort was there.

This was a tough loss for the Rockets, but they are steadily improving. The Rockets are 3-5 in their last five games.

Up next: The Rockets face the Spurs on Tuesday night.

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