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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.

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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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