Remember the name

The Rockets report, brought to you by APG&E: Rockets destroy Grizzlies in Houston 140-112

Tonight's game, buzzer to buzzer, was an idealized version of the Rockets. Houston showed what they could be when they're clicking on both ends of the floor and having appropriate fear of their opponents every night. Defensively, they were locked in in a way that's been rare for them this season. It's probably what Daryl Morey envisioned for the team when he made the bold swap of Clint Capela for Robert Covington at the trade deadline and you got to give him credit for it - this team looks damn good since.

Austin Rivers was phenomenal tonight for Houston off the bench, pulling in 23 points on 9 of 12 shooting from the field and 4 of 7 shooting from deep. There was a point tonight, where Rivers hadn't missed a three-pointer, a field goal, or a free throw, but the quest for a perfect game was quickly ruined with a missed three-pointer. However, since the All-Star break, Rivers has been playing at a different level on the offensive end and it may just be due to his shots finally falling for him at the perfect time.

Robert Covington extended his streak of games with at least three blocks to five tonight. His ability to get weakside blocks and tower over people in the paint is a skillset that was overshadowed when he played small forward for other teams. It's more than made up for the paint presence Houston misses without a traditional center and helps clear up why they made it in the first place.

Houston believes they can play much better defensively as a unit and so far, they're not wrong.

Star of the game: Russell Westbrook was in strong contention for this tonight, but James Harden's efficiency put him over the top. Harden tallied 30 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steal on a ridiculous 80.4% true shooting. Harden seemingly would not miss on his step-back jumpers, particularly in the second and third quarters where he hit 6 of 9 three-pointers. Harden would only go on to play 28 minutes and sit for the entire fourth quarter.

Honorable mention: I think it's become insulting to refer to what Russell Westbrook is doing as simply a hot stretch of games at this point. He's returned to the levels he was at 4-5 years ago, dominating the NBA alongside Kevin Durant, but this time, it's with James Harden. Tonight, Westbrook tallied 33 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists, and 4 steals on 65.2% true shooting. He was an amazing team-high +37 and consistently surged the Rockets on their greatest runs as a team tonight.

Key moment: Houston's 35-17 first quarter was something to behold. The Rockets essentially played their version of perfect basketball on both ends of the floor and it was an advanced stats conocer's wet dream. It wasn't even like the Rockets shot the ball particularly well (4 for 11 - 36.4%), they just executed at a high level. It showed what this team could be on defense at it's peak.

Up next: The Rockets travel to Boston to take on the Celtics at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

The Texans should swing for the fences. Composite image by Jack Brame.

With each passing day, the Deshaun drama thickens. It's progressed to Mayor Sylvester Turner tweeting, basically humbling himself to Deshaun.

A city that a few short weeks ago offered up mega star power across the board, has now seen James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and George Springer all depart for a variety of reasons. The impact of Deshaun leaving would be irreversible guaranteeing the Texans resting comfortably in the bottom of the AFC South for the next decade, wallowing in futility.

The saga will only intensify in two weeks should Patrick Mahomes collect another Lombard Trophy. As 2017 draft class contemporaries, Deshaun is comparing his career to #15. Another ring would place Mahomes up 2-0 in that discussion with Watson.

Perhaps the Texans should take a play from the Oilers playbook and inquire on Dabo Swinney. In the pursuit of securing the services of Warren Moon, the Oilers made a power play and secured the services of Moon's former CFL coach, Hugh Campbell. I've attended several luncheons and engagements in which Deshaun served as the keynote speaker. In many of those venues, a short video presentation would include personal greetings and feel good overtures directed to Deshaun from Dabo. The end result was Deshaun lighting up like a Christmas tree. There's a viable relationship in place there.

At the end of the day, Deshaun is a competitor. Losing DeAndre Hopkins was a major loss, but not to the degree that you might think. Deshaun still went out and threw for over 4,000 yards this season, and with a sub-par supporting cast, even pulling guys off of the practice squad in late December contests to fill out the receiving corps. The issue for Watson is trust, and culture. Hence, the recent headlines surrounding the Jets as a future home make very little sense. The Jets in 4 of their last 5 seasons have had double-digit losing seasons. Until the recent resurgence of the Browns, the Jets far and away have held the title of the "laughingstock" of the NFL.

The biggest challenge for the Texans is who could persuade Deshaun to stay? Could team President Jamey Rootes calm down the noise? It certainly won't come from Texans Ring of Honor recipient Andre Johnson. If I were Cal McNair, I would place a call to 105 Sikes Hall in Clemson, SC and ask for Dabo's office. That's as good of a place to start as any other.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome