Helter skelter

The Rockets report, brought to you by APG&E: Rockets defeat 76ers in Houston 118-108

This game was the definition of back and forth in terms of the amount of momentum changes that occurred, particularly in the third quarter. Russell Westbrook had a signature "This is the Russell Westbrook experience" game tonight, scoring 20 points on 9 of 22 shooting from the field and turning the ball over 4 times.

Early in the first quarter, Philadelphia's length and physicality seemed to bother Houston, as evidenced by their 20 points scored on 30.8 percent shooting from the field. However, the Rockets, particularly James Harden, seemed to figure things out in the second quarter as they rallied back from score 40 points on 68.4 percent shooting and 42.9 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Harden scored 14 points on 4 of 5 shooting from the field and 2 of 3 shooting from three-point range in the second quarter and the Rockets outscored Philadelphia 29-16.

The Sixers made several efforts to come back and Westbrook's third quarter performance nearly gave it to them, (4 points, 2 of 7 shooting from the field, and 3 turnovers), but Houston managed to stay in it until the end. Tonight gave another glimpse to how good the Rockets can be on both ends when fully healthy. Houston posted an offensive rating of 114.9 (good for second in the league) and a defensive rating of 105.2 (would be good for 12th in the league) against a pretty good Philadelphia team. It'll be interesting to see if their momentum from the Nuggets game and tonight carries over to the rest of the season.

Star of the game: What James Harden did tonight was truly a work of art. The 76ers, a team with plenty of length and defensive versatility, had no idea what to do with him. If they trapped, Harden broke the traps with crisp passes. If they single coveraged, Harden drained a step-back three or drove by his defender (either Ben Simmons or Josh Richardson for most of the night). Harden had 44 points, 11 assists, and 11 rebounds, 1 steal, and 1 block on a ludicrous 75.1 true shooting percentage.

Honorable mention: Clint Capela had his best game in a long time tonight against a tough match-up in Joel Embiid. Capela, still in pain from the right heel injury, used his speed to outrun Embiid down the court several times tonight and was available for dump-off passes when Embiid would step up to defend Harden. Capela finished with 30 points 14 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block on 76.8 percent true shooting.

Key moment: To start the second quarter, the Rockets opened with a 29-16 run to give them an 8 point lead with 4:24 remaining in the half. Harden led the Rockets this quarter with 14 points on 4 of 5 shooting from the field and 2 of 3 shooting from three-point range.

Up next: The Rockets travel to Atlanta to play the Hawks at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday.

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Another tough loss for Houston. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images.

The Houston Texans lost again as their road game ineptitude continues. Former Texans stars DeAndre Hopkins and J.J. Watt helped the Cardinals to the 31-5 victory.

1. The lack of talent is getting exposed earlier and earlier each week. The Texans have seen games slip away faster and faster from them each week. The team is overmatched almost everywhere.

2. Penalties remain a problem for the Texans. It seems like clockwork the team gets an illegal motion or illegal formation each week. Jordan Akins torpedoed a drive with a chop block. Max Scharping erased a positive play with a hold.

3. Davis Mills had some solid moments, but again, this team isn't good. It is hard to assess Mills with this team. He's making quicker decisions but he doesn't have the time or the players to make big plays.

4. The offensive line stinks. The interior of the line is still a mess and with Laremy Tunsil down the edges find themselves shaky as well. The running backs don't block well. The blocking tight ends don't block well. It is bad football in what was supposed to be a much-improved unit.

5. Desmond King was the best returner in the preseason. The team elected to give Andre Roberts an opportunity for a few games, but with his departure, the duties went to King. King is the most successful returner the Texans have had in a long while. Yes, it is that clear after just one game.

6. Max Scharping was benched in favor of Justin McCray. McCray produced similar levels of success. Scharping was benched last year for a journey-man veteran as well. The former second-round pick isn't getting it done.

7. Speaking of former second-round picks, Lonnie Johnson had an interception. That was the highlight of his day. Otherwise, Johnson frequently has me asking "what is Lonnie Johnson doing?" The former second-round pick at cornerback has been less than impressive at safety. Johnson seems to frequently be out of position or making the wrong choice in coverage.

8. DeAndre Hopkins had a solid day against the team that traded him away. Hopkins hauled in seven catches for 53 yards and a touchdown. After he scored, Hopkins looked to bring his hands together and mimic a prayer motion. I don't anticipate this was a nod to Arian Foster but perhaps could this have been about Jack Easterby?

9. The Texans had some sacks, but little of that action came when the game was close. Jonathan Greenard added two sacks to his total. The success Greenard is having is frustrating when you consider he couldn't get on the field last season. Charles Omenihu returned to action and had some pressures for the defense.

10. During the game reports surfaced that the Panthers might be interested in trading for Deshaun Watson. It was also reported by the Houston Chronicle Watson had vetoed a trade to Philadelphia, so the Eagles will not be involved in the Watson sweepstakes. The Panthers can only trade two first-round picks. The Miami Dolphins have three first-round picks they can trade for Deshaun Watson.

11. The Texans decided on a "culture" head coach in David Culley. His team has looked lifeless on the road. While the Texans took their beating, the Lions gave it their all against a good Rams team. Detroit is winless, but they play harder and better than the Texans. It grows clearer each week "culture" is meaningless if the team can't win.

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