Micro-ball Prevails Again

The Rockets report, brought to you by APG&E: Rockets defeat Lakers in Los Angeles 121-111

The spotlight doesn't get any brighter than this. After stunningly trading away starting center Clint Capela for swingman Robert Covington, the Rockets added one more feather in their cap in regards to their micro-ball theory. Again, Houston did not play a player over 6 foot 7 and managed to do it successfully against a giant Lakers team.

The story obviously starts with how Houston performed on the glass. Conventional wisdom says the Rockets would be at a huge rebounding disadvantage against this massive Lakers team with LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and JaVale McGee in the starting lineup. However, the Rockets managed to rebound pretty well as a group and only lose the rebounding battle 38-37.

And though Anthony Davis did have a dominant night (32 points, 13 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 3 steals on 14 of 21 shooting from the field), Houston stayed discipline and maximized their own advantages in this matchup. For example, the Rockets forced 16 more more turnovers for the fifth game in a row and scored 26 fast break points. Houston also shot 19 of 42 from three-point range (45.2%) as compared to Los Angeles' 9 of 31 shooting from deep (29.0%).

On a night where the NBA universe predicted they'd fall flat on their face in fully adopting this experiment, they displayed what could be possible. Obviously, it's too early for anyone to have victory laps as the Rockets have only been playing this way for five games straight. The true tests will come with consistency.

Star of the game: In a game where James Harden greatly struggled (14 points on 3 of 10 shooting from the field), Russell Westbrook picked up the slack and relentlessly attacked the basket with a spaced floor. Westbrook tallied 41 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1 steal on 17 of 28 shooting from the field and 6 of 8 shooting from the free throw line. The Lakers, as many NBA teams do, decided to trap Harden for the majority of the game, and Westbrook took hold of the lead role brilliantly tonight.

Honorable mention: You won't get many debuts as impactful as the one Robert Covington had tonight for the Rockets. Having just completed his physical in the last 24 hours and flying to Los Angeles, Covington had himself a stellar night, scoring 14 points on 5 of 9 shooting from the field and 4 of 7 shooting from beyond the arc. He was omnipresent on the defensive end with excellent rotations, weak-side defense, and deflections. Covington also had 2 steals, 2 blocks, and was a +16 in 30 minutes. He didn't get the start tonight, but he made a damn good case for why he deserves it next game.

Key moment: The story for this Rockets team over the last five games is how excellent they've been defensively in these fourth quarters. The Rockets allowed the Lakers to score only 18 points on 8 of 23 shooting from the field. The Rockets also managed to out-rebound the Lakers 14 to 9 and force them to shoot 1 for 11 from three-point range. It seems that as the game goes along, the Rockets figure out the communication and group effort required to switch and play this small. It'll be a trend to watch going forward.

Up next: The Rockets travel to Phoenix at 8:00 p.m. on Friday to play the Suns.

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This is getting out of hand. Photo by Ronald Martinez/Allsport/Getty Images.

Dr. Rick warns his patients, young homeowners who are turning into their parents, you can expect to pay more for snacks and drinks at a movie theater. It's the same deal at a professional sports venue. Three years ago, I put a down payment on a cheeseburger at Toyota Center ... I still have three more payments to go before I get it.

But this is ridiculous. The PGA Championship, the lesser (least) of golf's majors, is charging $18 for a beer, a 25-ounce Michelob Ultra, at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa. It's $19 for a Stella Artois. You can buy a six-pack for less at the supermarket. Aren't there laws against price gouging, like during a hurricane? Isn't Tulsa where the Golden Hurricanes play? Get FEMA in here. Did tournament directors get together and ponder, how can we piss off our fans? Sure, it's Tulsa and there's not much else to do, but that's no excuse.

Charging $18 for a beer makes the concession stands at Minute Maid Park look like a Sunday morning farmer's market. A 25-ounce domestic beer during an Astros game is $13.49. A 25-ounce premium beer is $14.45. Yeah, that's high for a beer, but at Minute Maid Park there are lots of hands in the till. Aramark wants to make a profit, the taxman has big mitts, and the Astros want their cut, too. Look, you want to sign Kyle Tucker and Yordan Alvarez to an extension or not? Then drink up and don't complain. Some quiet grumbling and head-shaking is permitted, however.

You know the PGA Championship is charging too much for a beer when even the rich pampered players take notice. "18 (!!!!!) for a beer ... uhhh what," former PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas tweeted. "Good thing I don't drink a lot."

Like he will be in line for a beer at a public concession booth, anyway.

Of course there will be fans sneaking in beer in baggies strapped to their ankles, like stuffing your pockets with store-bought Snickers before going to the movies. It doesn't have to be this way. The Masters, the most prestigious golf event, charges only $5 for both domestic and imported beer. I know it's a gimmick, part of The Masters mystique along with pimento sandwiches for $1.50, but still it's a welcome gesture. You never lose when you treat the public fairly. When Mercedes-Benz Stadium opened in Atlanta, Falcons owner Arthur Blank insisted that food vendors charge the same inside the stadium as they do at their regular restaurants. Same thing when Denver International Airport opened, fast food restaurants couldn't jack up their prices to their captive customers. Here? There needs to be a loan window outside the Cinnabon booth at Bush-Intercontinental.

Except for the Masters in Augusta, golf's majors aren't tied to a city. A major comes to a city maybe every few years or in most cases never. There's no need to ride into a city like the James Gang, rob the local bank, and high tail it out of town. Golf should be the last professional sport to stick it to fans. While the game has made strides to open its arms to lower-income youths, golf remains an elitist, extremely expensive sport for regular folk. Equipment is expensive, private courses are exclusive and country clubs are exclusionary. Public courses are less expensive but still expensive and crowded. Plus there's never been a professional sport more dangerously dominated by one person than golf. I can imagine network executives on their knees praying that Tiger Woods makes the cut and plays on weekends. Otherwise, TV ratings go straight into the toilet, you know, like whatever team Mattress Mack is betting on. (I joke because I love, and frankly a little scared.)

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