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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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Davis Mills has to work to do. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

The Houston Texans took to the field for their second day of workouts on the field. Here are 11 observations from a shaky offensive day.

1. Mills had a shakier day than his first. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good. There were a lot of teachable moments for him in this practice. General manager Nick Caserio said consistency is the biggest thing for him in evaluating a player. Part of the consistency is how often do you make the same mistakes, according to Caserio. Mills has work to do before Monday’s practice.

2. Even with the shaky day, there is still excitement to Mills. Seeing how he bounces back will be big, and the challenge won't be easy as the team will have a padded practice on Monday. Traditionally, defenses are ahead of the offense early in training camp.

3. Nico Collins and Davis Mills weren’t on the same page on Saturday. The two had a few miscommunications that led to some incomplete passes. Mills also came up just a little long on a deep pass to Collins. Later the two hooked up for a nice completion as Collins beat rookie Derek Stingley Jr. but it was not the best day for the two second-year players.

4. There weren’t a lot of receivers getting open today. Brandin Cooks is about the only player who constantly gets open. It led to Davis Mills holding the ball a few times and ultimately deciding to check the ball down. The secondary had a solid day.

5. Lovie Smith said after practice they don’t scheme up a lot of short passes and this team will need to move the ball through the air. He did lament that sometimes you have to take a quick and short gain as an offense. Smith also joked when you don’t like the passing game you can give credit to the coverage.

6. Speaking of the secondary, it featured a lot of Derek Stingley Jr. on Saturday. The first passing drill with the offense against defense saw Stingley Jr. square off with Brandin Cooks. It was again a win for Cooks, but the rookie had some nice moments on the field. Chris Conley also had a nice win against Stingley Jr. in coverage. The Texans have to get their first-round pick acclimated to how they will use him. I will say though that Stingley Jr. makes things look fluid and easy as he moves about the defense.

7. Safety Terrence Brooks has put together a nice couple of days to start training camp. He has had at least one pass break-up in each of the first two days and he has a lot of energy in the secondary. Rookie Jalen Pitre dashed into the backfield sniffing out a toss play showcasing his anticipation.

8. Garret Wallow was a player showing up to camp with high expectations, and he’d earned them. The late-round pick last year had done a great job getting his body in shape, and it feels like he is all over the field. Wallow had a pass break-up Saturday and he is near the top of my list for when the pads come on Monday.

9. Speaking of players who will excite when the pads come on, Kenyon Green is near the top of my list too. The “other” first-round pick for the Texans hasn’t played as much as you would maybe like so far, but he absolutely STONED a defender on a running play. There is work to do, but Green has flashes and in pads, he should flash more.

10. Jerry Hughes is one of the oldest players on the field. You wouldn’t know it though. The veteran has a ton of energy, and he’s very vocal. He easily dismissed Laremy Tunsil for what would have been a sack. Hughes is going to be a necessary contributor to this team in 2022.

11. Jonathan Greenard, Justin Britt, and Kamu Grugier-Hill all practiced after missing time on Friday. Phillip Dorsett has yet to really get involved and Lovie Smith said Dorsett is a little dinged up. The team will practice in pads on Monday for the first time. Jalen Pitre, Kenyon Green, Garret Wallow, Christian Harris, and Roy Lopez are the players I have near the top of my list to keep an eye on as the pads come on.

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