CHARLIE PALLILO

So long, Carmelo, the Rockets will be just fine without you

Mike D'Antoni and the Rockets have moved on from Carmelo. Harry How/Getty Images

So what’s your favorite Carmelo Anthony Houston Rocket memory? A dubious move at point of signing, it played out worse more quickly than even the most hardened cynic could have anticipated. The Rockets looked ridiculous with their BS claim of Anthony having been sidelined by “illness” the last few games. Yeah. His performance level made Mike D’Antoni sick. His defensive contribution was a malignancy.

By all accounts Carmelo Anthony is a good guy. As a Syracuse alum I’ll forever have a warm spot for his carrying the Orangemen to the 2003 NCAA Championship. That was a long time ago. Anthony hasn’t been a big-time player for a while now. Before last season when dealt to Oklahoma City Anthony thought he made for a big three with Russell Westbrook and Paul George. Not close. Then after being traded to and then bought out by Atlanta, Melo joined the desperate for bench help Rockets. Melo thought he’d make a big three with buddy Chris Paul, and James Harden. Not close again. It was never even a possibility. William Shakespeare wrote “Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow.” Not always. No sorrow on this one.

Meanwhile the Rockets have exhaled after their 1-5 mess of a start and settled in to playing some darn good ball. Getting back to .500 merits no celebration, but winning six of eight including this week’s wins at Denver and over (granted, Stephen Curry-less) Golden State is quality. The Western Conference is ferociously deep this season, but the Rockets schedule softens over the next couple of weeks so they should be leaving the .500 mark in their rearview mirror.

A Cougar low

Divergent agendas can make for ugly moments. Such happened during UH’s Thursday night rout of Tulane when Ed Oliver grew furious with head coach Major Applewhite when Applewhite told him to take off a jacket that was reserved for players playing in the game. Applewhite is the Cougars’ second year head coach trying to avoid a second disappointing season. His defense had been godawful in multiple recent games, the most recent played without All-America defensive lineman Oliver. Oliver was injured by an illegal block October 20. Two weeks later UH announced Oliver would play that night against SMU. Oliver did not, and has missed two more games since. The obvious undercurrent is that a number of people (maybe including the head coach) think Oliver is healthy enough to be playing. As much as it’s a team sport and any player on a team should feel obligation to his teammates and school, Ed Oliver cannot be blamed for taking no chances. He’s a surefire top 10 NFL Draft pick. That’s millions and millions of guaranteed dollars waiting for him. A blown out knee could wreck that. It’s not as if UH is chasing a national championship.  

On the road again

The Texans play at Washington Sunday in a matchup of 6-3 teams that really don’t seem to be all that good. With the possible exception of the Bears, the Texans and Washington are certainly the two weakest division leaders in the NFL. Which means, they are division leaders. Play the course.

The Texans somewhat surprisingly are road favorites by a field goal. That means unless they falter badly the Texans will be favored in six of their remaining seven games, the lone underdog role being at Philadelphia, and that could change since the Eagles’ Super Bowl defense could be dead by the time that game rolls around. So by the chalk the Texans should finish…12-4. 12-4!!!

But why are the Texans favored at Washington? The Texans offense hasn’t been very good this season, legitimately topping 20 points only twice. Washington’s defense has been stout, giving up more than 17 points only three times. Well, flip the script. Washington has won three of its last four games but hasn’t scored more than 20 in any of them. The Texans front seven has been hell-raising. J.J. Watt is probably running second behind Andrew Luck for comeback player of the year. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney and friends should maul Washington’s injury ravaged offensive line. Both of Washington’s starting guards are out injured, and so is Pro Bowl tackle Trent Williams. If the Texans don’t lose the special teams matchup or the turnover battle, they should have a seven game winning streak going into the huge Monday nighter upcoming against the Titans.

In the AFC South race the Texans’ ideal Sunday is they win while the Colts beat the Titans in Indianapolis. That would give the Texans a two game division lead and margin for error ahead of the Titans’ visit. If both the Texans and Titans win, control of the AFC South race will ride on that Monday nighter. If the Texans lose and the Titans win, the Monday nighter becomes a virtual must win for the Texans.

Buzzer Beaters

1. Justin Verlander had a fabulous season, but Blake Snell was the best pitcher in the American League in 2018.  2. Go Orange! Beat Notre Dame! 3. Most absurd games with SEC teams this weekend: Bronze-LSU/Rice Silver-Georgia/UMass Gold-Alabama/The Citadel.


 

HARRIS COUNTY-HOUSTON SPORTS AUTHORITY INSIDER

United States Bowling Congress Open coming to Houston in 2022

Bowling will roll into Houston in 2022. Getty Images

The Harris County – Houston Sports Authority Insider will take you inside Houston Sports each Friday because #WeAreHoustonSports!

One of the world's largest participation sports events in the world is headed to Houston.

Approximately 50,000 bowlers will converge on the Bayou City for the 2022 United States Bowling Congress Open Championships. The 119th edition of the event will be played at a new mixed-use, state-of-the-art sports facitily that is being developed in North Houston.

Bowling is just the latest in a line of sports that have chosen Houston as a destination for a big event. The five-month run of events is expected to drive an economic impact between $75 million and $100 million.

"What an amazing opportunity for Houston and Harris County,'' said Chris Massey, Harris County – Houston Sports Authority Director of Events. "When you combine ingredients like a world-class sports town, an amazing new venue, and a top-notch event such as the USBC Open Championships, you really can't help but get excited.''

The city will also host the 2020 Men's Basketball Regional, the 2020 U.S. Women's Open, the 2021 World Transplant Games, 2023 Men's Final Four, 2024 College Football Playoff. In addition, the city was named to host one of eight XFL teams and is positioned to possibly become one of the 10 U.S. cities that will host 2026 World Cup games.

The 2020 Open Championships marks the first time bowlers will bring their marquee event to Houston. Since its inception in 1901, the event has been held all across the United States and 2020 will be the tournament's fifth trip to Texas, joining Fort Worth (1957), Corpus Christi (1992, 2006) and El Paso (2015) as hosts.

"We're excited to bring the Open Championships to a new host city in Houston, which has proven itself to be among the nation's elite and top-tier sports destinations," USBC President Karl Kielich said. "The opportunity to be the first major event in a new sports complex demonstrates the success and strength of the USBC Open Championships."

Participants will compete in three average-based divisions and the event will include enough lanes for the Open Championships, the Bowlers Journal Championships presented by USBC and team practice sessions.

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