Bad call. Worse loss.

The Rockets report, brought to you by APG&E: Rockets blow giant lead and lose to Spurs 135-133

The Rockets could come up with a bunch of excuses for why they lost this game, but at the end of the day, that's all they will amount to - excuses. Houston had every opportunity to close this one out and they didn't.

Houston actually started the game out decent, to their credit. They had a 63-59 lead at halftime and 97-81 lead heading into the third quarter. This is where shot-making and defense absolutely killed the Rockets to close out the game. They posted a 109.2 defensive rating (good for bottom 10 in the league), shot 42 of 112 from the field (38%), and 15 of 51 from three-point range (29%).

The Rockets allowed Bryn Forbes and Lonnie Walker to combine for 53 points on 20 of 31 shooting from the field and 9 of 13 from three-point distance. Walker had been struggling mightily to get going for the Spurs before this game (2.5 points per game on 41.6% true shooting) and Houston allowed him to have a career game.

This will go down as one of the few games of the season where neither James Harden or Russell Westbrook will receive the star of the game or honorable mention honors, despite Harden scoring 50 points. Harden and Westbrook combined for 18 of 68 shooting from the field and 5 of 26 shooting from three-point range. They were both Houston's only negative plus/minus players in the starting lineup (-3 and -8 respectively).

Star of the game: Clint Capela returned from the illness that kept him bed-ridden for a week to log 22 points, 20 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks and 1 steal on 9 of 9 shooting from the field and 4 of 6 shooting from the free throw line. Capela defended well for taking a week off and had the team's second highest plus/minus in this loss (+16).

Honorable mention: After shooting the ball dreadfully before this game (28.6% from three-point range), Austin Rivers had one of his better games of the season, scoring 19 points on 6 of 8 shooting from the field (5 of 6 shooting from three-point range), grabbing 5 rebounds, and playing excellent individual defense down the stretch for Houston.

Key moment: With a 13-point lead and 8 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, the Rockets let a blown call get to them and proceeded to play some of the worst defense they've played all season.

It was obviously inexcusable for the officiating crew to completely miss a basket like that, but the story of this game was and should continue to be how poorly the Rockets played following that call. Their decision making and shot-making also cost them dearly in the overtime periods.

Up next: The Rockets travel to Toronto at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday to take on the surging Raptors.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

Houston gets another victory in Anaheim

Astros overpower Angels again as magic number dwindles

Kyle Tucker had 3 of Houston's RBI on Tuesday night, including a two-run homer. Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images

After a beatdown of the Angels on Monday in the opener, the Astros entered Tuesday's game looking to replicate that success. Though Los Angeles would put up more of a fight, Houston still used their potent offense to keep the game out of reach.

Final Score: Astros 10, Angels 5

Astros' Record: 90-61, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jose Urquidy (8-3)

Losing Pitcher: Packy Naughton (0-3)

Houston's bats keep connecting to back up Urquidy

The Astros picked up on Tuesday's game where they left off on Monday, launching homers to take and extend a lead. A leadoff walk by Carlos Correa in the top of the second set up Kyle Tucker, who drove a two-run shot. Aledmys Diaz was next, making it back-to-back jacks to push the new lead to 3-0.

That gave Jose Urquidy a lead to work with, which came in handy as former Astro Jack Mayfield cut the lead to two runs with a leadoff solo homer in the bottom of the second. Other than that, Urquidy did well through five innings, allowing just two other hits over that span. LA got to him in the sixth, getting two singles to set up a three-run homer to end his night. His final line: 5.1 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 2 HR, 79 P.

The runs keep coming

He would still leave in line for the win, though, as before that bottom of the sixth, the Astros had put up seven more runs across the fifth and sixth. A leadoff walk in the top of the fifth was followed by a two-run homer by Jose Altuve, then later in the frame, an RBI single by Aledmys Diaz made it 7-1. They pushed that to double digits in the sixth, with a leadoff solo shot by Martin Maldonado, a sac fly by Carlos Correa, and an RBI groundout by Kyle Tucker, putting them up 10-1 before the homer allowed by Urquidy cut that to 10-4.

Astros win to reduce magic number again

In the sixth, Cristian Javier took over for Urquidy, finished that inning, and returned for a scoreless seventh. He ran into Shohei Ohtani to lead off the bottom of the eighth and left a fastball in the zone, which Ohtani turned around 445 feet to make it a five-run game. Javier still got through the inning, leaving just the ninth for Houston's second reliever of the night, Josh James. James would get through a scoreless inning, erasing a leadoff walk as the lopsided win paired with an A's loss reduces Houston's magic number to 4.

Up Next: The third of this four-game series will be another 8:38 PM Central start on Wednesday. Janson Junk (0-1, 2.25 ERA) will make his third career start for the Angels, while Luis Garcia (11-7, 3.37 ERA) will have the ball for the Astros.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome