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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Houston has lost seven of eight

Mariners ride big fifth inning to series win over Astros

Jake Odorizzi earned his second loss as an Astro Sunday. Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images.

With the losing streak behind them by taking the middle game on Saturday night, the Astros returned to T-Mobile Park on Sunday afternoon to try and make it back-to-back victories to take the series. Instead, they'd suffer their seventh loss in the last eight games.

Final Score: Mariners 7, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 7-8, fourth in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Ljay Newsome (1-0)

Losing Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi (0-2)

Odorizzi locks in through four while Houston grabs a lead

Jake Odorizzi did not start his afternoon the way he needed to in order to have a good rebound outing compared to his first start. In the 37-pitch first inning, he issued two walks and an RBI-single, putting the Mariners at a significant advantage early. Odorizzi flipped the switch, though, finding a rhythm to retire the next ten batters after that RBI-single to get through four innings with just one run allowed.

Offensively for Houston, they quickly responded to Seattle's run in the first with one of their own in the top of the second, capitalizing on some shoddy defense by Seattle to get Carlos Correa to second to set up an RBI ground-rule double by Aledmys Diaz, tying things up 1-1. It stayed that way until the top of the fifth when a leadoff walk by Chas McCormick would turn into a run after a stolen base and two sacrifice flys to give Houston a 2-1 lead.

Mariners explode for four in the fifth

The lead was short-lived, as Seattle would explode in the bottom of the fifth, getting a leadoff single and one-out walk to set up a two-RBI triple by Mitch Haniger to go ahead 3-2. That would prompt Dusty Baker out of the dugout to end Odorizzi's day and move on to Brooks Raley. Raley would not fare any better, giving up a two-run homer to Ty France to extend Seattle's new lead to 5-2. He would finish the inning, putting Odorizzi's line final: 4.1 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 7 K, 89 P.

Seattle takes the series

Seattle would strike again in the bottom of the seventh against Joe Smith. After a leadoff walk, the Mariners would get back-to-back one-out RBI-doubles to extend their lead to 7-2. After Smith in the seventh, Peter Solomon would make his major-league debut in the bottom of the eighth and work around a one-out walk for a scoreless inning. Houston would then come up empty in the top of the ninth, dropping the finale and the series to Seattle.

Up Next: The Astros will travel to Denver tonight and get an off day tomorrow. Tuesday night, they'll start a quick two-game set with the Rockies at 7:40 PM Central. Houston currently has Lance McCullers Jr. (1-1, 5.27 ERA) penciled in as their starter, but with ongoing illness, he has not yet been fully confirmed. For the Rockies, Jon Gray (1-1, 2.87 ERA) is expected to start.

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