The Rockets report, brought to you by APG&E: Houston takes care of business against Miami 117-108

After losing three games in a row, the Rockets captured a quality win tonight against a fiesty Miami Heat squad. The Heat were without Jimmy Butler and there tends to be a "let your guard down affect" when playing against a team without it's star. Fortunately for Houston, they seemed to be ready from the opening tip.

The Rockets looked in a daze for the first minute or so of the game, turning the ball over twice. However, they quickly found a rhythm, going on a 10-0 run which later turned into a 17-1 run. With Clint Capela out with an illness, there was an opening for young players Isaiah Hartenstein and Gary Clark to enter the rotation. Hartenstein didn't do much in the 10 minutes he played (2 rebounds, 2 fouls, -1), but Clark had his best game of the season in the 29 minutes he saw the floor (12 points, 8 rebounds, 1 steal, and 1 block on 5 of 10 shooting from the field, +7).

Mike D"Antoni didn't make any guarantees, but left open the possibility of Clark making the rotation this season.

"Gary's good," said D'Antoni. "We're trying to find somebody to give us something consistent. It's up to him to do this. You know everybody in the NBA can do it one or two nights. Can you do it for six months in a row? We got to have that."


Danuel House also had a career high 23 points on 7 of 11 shooting from the field and 4 of 8 shooting from three-point range. "There are always good looks on this team," said House. "When those two guys (Russell Westbrook and James Harden) get going downhill, they put a lot of pressure on a lot of people. I'm open, open. So, thank you Russ and James."

Star of the game: James Harden started the game tonight with the clear intention of taking care of business against a Miami Heat team without Jimmy Butler. Harden had 24 points by halftime, giving the Rockets a 66-42 lead that the Heat were never able to recover from. Harden ended the game with 34 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block on 64.4% true shooting.

Honorable mention: Russell Westbrook had possibly his most efficient game of the season. Westbrook had 27 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists, and 2 steals on 11 of 21 shooting from the field. Westbrook did most of his damage from the midrange where he made 8 of 14 shots. Westbrook also made 5 of 6 of his free throws after making 9 of 10 in the previous game.

Key moment: After starting the game off down 3 with two turnovers, the Rockets went on a 10-0 run in the opening minutes of the first quarter that was progressively built on as the night went on.

Up next: The Rockets finish their home stand off against the Atlanta Hawks at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

THE LEFT TURN

NASCAR: Quaker State 400 preview

Photo via: WikiCommons.

This week, the NASCAR cup series heads to Kentucky Motor Speedway for the Quaker State 400. Built in 2001, this track is a 1.5 mile tri-oval with a dog-leg on the front stretch. The most dangerous part of the track has to be turn three as the corner is flat compared to the other three corners that are banked. This has been a major point of contingency for these drivers as most of the cautions end up being there. Look for turn three to be a hot spot come Sunday. Last year, both the Busch brothers finished 1-2 in one of the most exciting finishes of the season so there will be a lot of hype for this race to live up to.

Last week at Indy, as we all expected the race was a crazy one. Over the course of the race's 160 laps, we saw many horrific accidents including a scary pit road accident involving Corey Lajoe, Ryan Blaney, Justin Allgier, Ryan Preece and others. The wreck started when everyone got stacked up entering the pits and the calamity was on from there. During the wreck Brennan Poole struck Rear Tire Changer Zach Price as he was trying to avoid the wrecking cars in front of him. After the incident fans and media alike all held their breath as they awaited news on his condition. But when the camera panned to him being loaded into the ambulance, there was a huge sigh of relief as he gave everyone a thumbs up signifying he was okay. Another scary moment was both Erik Jones and Alex Bowman's vicious crashes. Both cars had tire failures that sent their cars directly into the wall. Fortunately both drivers were okay but their days were over.

In the end, tire wear would end up claiming one more victim as it took out Denny Hamlin as well. With seven laps to go, the four-time winner this season was in prime position to get his fifth victory until his right front tire blew out, sending him hard into the turn 2 wall. This mishap handed the win to his main rival in the championship, Kevin Harvick, as he went on to claim his third Brickyard 400 victory and fourth win of the year. When it was all over, many questioned why there were so many tire failures and if new owner Roger Penske would make an effort to possibly widen the pit-road after the massive accident on Sunday.

Needless to say, there are a lot of questions on what will be different at Indy in 2021. When I talked to spotter Freddie Kraft on Tuesday, he gave a lot of good insights on both topics. When it came to the tire failures, he talked about how the increasing corner speeds at the racetrack has put a lot of pressure on these Goodyear tires which eventually led to them coming apart. As far as Pit-Road and what they can do to fix that, he talked about how it is difficult to make changes to a track that is so historical. Which makes sense, but he followed this up by saying that maybe it would be wise to give up a little history and move the wall over and make it wider. It will be interesting to see what NASCAR does in the coming months.

On Friday, Associated Press journalist Jenna Fryer revealed a bombshell announcement that 7-time champion and NASCAR's biggest name Jimmie Johnson, had tested positive for coronavirus. As everyone knows, the world is going through the worst pandemic it's ever faced in this lifetime. With the sport coming back and racing again, it was only a matter of time until one of the drivers came down with it. Unfortunately it had to be NASCAR's most recognizable driver. Thankfully, Jimmie made a full recovery and was cleared to return this weekend at Kentucky. This was a big scare for everyone in the NASCAR world, but I have to give a lot of credit to Johnson for being as forthright as he was about his diagnosis with everyone who he works with. It will be good to have Jimmie back on Sunday.

The driver that I have winning this weekend is Kyle Busch. While this season has been a disappointment for the defending champion, Kentucky would be a great place for him to turn it around. Ever since the cup series has started going there, Kyle has always been in contention to win. In fact, he won the first cup series race that was run at this track back in 2011. In his nine starts there, Kyle has finished outside the top ten only once and even then he finished 12th, back in 2016. Last season it appeared that Kyle was on his way to a third victory at this track, but he came up one spot short to his brother Kurt in a fantastic last lap duel. After a late race restart this weekend though, I see Kyle redeeming himself and capturing his first victory of 2020. Look for Kyle to get back on track come Sunday.


All stats and information used in this article are brought to you by the good folks at driveraverages.com and Racing-Reference.com, the best websites for all NASCAR stats.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome