The Pallilog

Texans still have work to do, right move for Oliver and Rockets-Warriors

Tytus Howard out of Alabama State could develop into a tremendous offensive tackle who protects Deshaun Watson for the next decade. He probably won't but he certainly could. If Howard is a good, dependable starting tackle he's a good pick. He went 23rd overall not third. It's still difficult to not think that Texans' General Manager Brian Gaine got beaten to the punch for his first first round selection, and was forced to some extent, settle. To my knowledge, no one credible thinks Howard is the tackle prospect that Andre Dillard is. The Texans had been regularly linked to Dillard. The Eagles paid a modest price of fourth and sixth round picks to trade up three spots and select Dillard immediately before the Texans went on the clock.

The Texans aren't thinking they got a stud o-lineman from Nick Saban's Crimson Tide, right?

With two second round picks and one third rounder, the Texans absolutely should be thinking another offensive lineman and a cornerback for two of those selections. With the other pick "best player available" expanding to running backs to complement/challenge/succeed Lamar Miller, wide receivers to give depth beyond the fragile Will Fuller and Keke Coutee, and a pass rusher since J.J. Watt is 30, Jadeveon Clowney's future is up in the air, and Whitney Mercilus enters the last year of his contract having produced just five sacks in 21 games over the last two seasons.

Oliver to the Bills

Only silly people criticized Ed Oliver for not playing in the University of Houston's bowl game. Playing would have entailed only risk, no reward. Especially for a guy whose final UH season was disrupted by a knee injury. Oliver's decision needed no validation, but going number nine in the draft to Buffalo made for a very good Thursday night for him. The ninth pick last year (o-lineman Mike McGlinchey to the 49ers) signed a guaranteed four year contract worth more than $18 million dollars.

Oliver is just the sixth UH Cougar to go in the top 10 overall. Of the prior five, Riley Odoms is the only one to start an NFL game after he turned 28 years old. Those who didn't: Mack Mitchell, Wilson Whitley, Andre Ware, and David Klingler.

​Finally, Rockets-Warriors

Unless the Golden State Warriors complete an epic collapse we will get the long anticipated Rockets-Warriors rematch. The champs are clearly vulnerable having lost two home games already to the Clippers. If the Warriors close out in six they face a quick turnaround to game one with the Rockets Sunday afternoon in Oakland. If the Clippers force the two-time defending champs to a Game 7 the Rockets would have time to kill until Tuesday. If somehow the Clippers win the series the Rockets would get homecourt advantage for round two.

With loads of respect to the Clippers pushing things this far, Rockets-Warriors remains the desired marquis attraction. It should be a tremendous series. It better be a tremendous series, because other than one incredible game and shot from Damian Lillard, the first round of the NBA playoffs has generally been awful.

On paper it still sets up as advantage Warriors. If both teams play their best ball, Golden State simply has more top end talent, with the tipping point player being Kevin Durant. James Harden didn't have a great series vs. Utah (37.4 percent field goal shooting stinks) but as a player he's better than he's ever been, and he'll have to be because Chris Paul isn't. In boxing terms, and probably basketball terms, as a tandem Harden and Paul have to outpoint Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

Eric Gordon probably needs to be outstanding. He's not remotely of Durant's caliber but needs to score well, and likely is the primary defender on Thompson, with Harden hidden on Bogut, Andre Iguodala, or Draymond Green.

The injury loss of DeMarcus Cousins takes away one very potent Golden State option, which makes life easier for Clint Capela. But having brought back Andrew Bogut was a shrewd Warrior moves. He's not an offensive threat, but Bogut is a better and smarter defender than Cousins.

Along with the historic ramifications of winning a third straight title and fourth in five years, before moving across the Bay to their billion dollar playpen palace in San Francisco next season, the Warriors want to finish their Oakland era with one last title at Oracle Arena. The Rockets would so love to be the detonator that demolishes Oracle a few weeks early. All dynasties end. I just don't think this one does quite yet.

Buzzer Beaters

1. John Havlicek died Thursday at 79. An acknowledged all-time great, eight time NBA champion, but I think underappreciated as more time passed. 2. The Rockets have zero reason to regret trading for Chris Paul, but given the circumstances the Clippers did great in getting Pat Beverley, Lou Williams, and Montrezl Harrell. 3. Best Paul/Harden insurance commercials: Bronze-Clutch Fires Away Silver-The Bot Gold-The Microwave

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

Houston loses in San Francisco

Astros drop back-and-forth middle game to Giants to even series

Houston's offense couldn't keep up with the Giants on Saturday. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

With the impressive win in the opener to start the series, the Astros entered Saturday's middle game against the Giants with an opportunity to not just secure the series but surpass San Francisco for the best record in the league. They'd have to wait to take that crown, as the Giants would out-slug the Astros to even the series.

Final Score: Giants 8, Astros 6

Astros' Record: 64-41, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jay Jackson (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Blake Taylor (2-3)

Teams trade blows early, Giants chase Greinke out early

The teams traded blows early in this one, with the Giants tagging Zack Greinke with six runs, all on homers. The first was a solo shot in the bottom of the second to start the scoring before hitting one in each inning through the fourth: two-run blasts in the third and fourth, then a go-ahead solo shot in the bottom of the fifth, putting them ahead 6-5 at the time. Greinke would face one more batter, allowing a single to end his lackluster day: 4.0 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 4 HR, 93 P.

Houston's offense kept things close to try and keep Greinke in a position to win, going up 3-1 in the third on a two-run Aledmys Diaz homer and another coming in on an error. After San Francisco scored four unanswered to make it 5-3, Diaz homered again in the top of the fifth to cut the deficit to one run before Yuli Gurriel would tie it with an RBI double.

Astros stay in it, but Giants even the series by winning the slug-fest

With Greinke exiting with no outs in the fifth, Houston handed the ball to Phil Maton, acquired in the recent Myles Straw trade, to make his debut for his new team. He worked himself into a jam, allowing a single and hitting a batter to load the bases with one out, but was able to get back-to-back strikeouts to strike out the side and strand all three runners, keeping it a one-run game.

That proved pivotal in the top of the sixth, as with two outs, Martin Maldonado would launch a game-tying solo homer, making it 6-6. Blake Taylor took over out of the bullpen in the bottom of the inning but would face just three batters, getting two outs while leaving one on as Dusty Baker moved on to Cristian Javier. Javier would watch the Giants retake the lead, getting back-to-back singles to bring in a run and make it 7-6.

Javier stayed in the game in the bottom of the seventh, allowing a leadoff single but erasing it by striking out the next three batters. Still a 7-6 game in the bottom of the eighth, Yimi Garcia made his Astros debut but did not keep the score there, allowing a leadoff solo homer to make it a two-run game. The 8-6 score would go final as Houston's offense came up empty again in the top of the ninth, setting up a rubber game in the finale.

Up Next: The series finale will get underway at 3:05 PM Central on Sunday in San Francisco. Luis Garcia (7-5, 3.19 ERA) will take the mound for Houston, going opposite Logan Webb (4-3, 3.36 ERA) for the Giants.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome