Sub-optimal

The Rockets report, brought to you by APG&E: Rockets fall to Golden State 116-103

This is a bad loss for the Rockets - there's no getting around it. Losing to a Warriors' squad without Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson on Christmas Day is about as embarrassing a loss as you're going to get in the NBA. It wasn't just that Houston lost - it was the manner in which they lost.

This game boiled down to a couple things: the Rockets' failing to respond to the Warriors' doubling and trapping James Harden and Houston's poor defensive effort. The Rockets have seen double teams all year so there's no reason for them to be frazzled by it at this point in the season. However, Russell Westbrook could not seem to get it going in the first half (6 of 17 from the field and 0 of 3 from three-point range) and the Rockets simply could not hit shots. James Harden shot 6 of 10 from three-point range, but everyone else combined for 10 of 41.

Houston's defense was also porous all game, particularly Clint Capela. Capela's rim-protection was about as bad as you're going to find and as a result, only played 29 minutes. He ended the game a -20 and the Rockets quickly shifted to their lineups with P.J. Tucker at center. Even with Tucker at center, the Rockets still couldn't get it together defensively and as a result, the Warriors made them pay with their fourth quarter run.

Star of the game: James Harden is probably the only Rocket that played well tonight. Harden logged 24 points, 11 assists, 6 rebounds, and 3 steals on 9 of 18 shooting from the field and 6 of 10 shooting from three-point range. However, Harden could only attempt 18 field goals because of the Warriors' aggressive trapping and doubling scheme.

Honorable mention: This is a rough. I suppose you can say Russell Westbrook played the least bad among the non-Harden Rockets'? Westbrook had 30 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 assists on 11 of 32 shooting from the field, 0 of 8 from three-point range, and 8 of 8 from the free throw line. This game ends the high efficiency streak Westbrook has been on for the prior 7 games.

Key moment: The fourth quarter is really where the Rockets let go of the rope. Usually in a game like this, the underdog team is going to make a run at some point in the game and for the Warriors, that was the 3rd quarter. It is up for a team like Houston to take the onus upon themselves and respond big in the fourth quarter. However, the Rockets folded. They let their poor defensive habits carry over into the fourth (113.6 defensive rating tonight) and they couldn't knock down open shots. The Warriors outscored the Rockets' 24-17 and Houston could not buy an open jumper if it was free.

Up next: The Rockets return home to Houston at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday to play the Brooklyn Nets.

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Texans fall to Browns. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images.

The Houston Texans kept it closer than the experts thought they would, but couldn't pull out a victory. Here are 11 observations from the loss in Cleveland to the Browns.

1. The game looks totally different if Texans quarterback Tyrod Taylor finishes the game. Taylor left at halftime with a hamstring injury. He was playing exceptionally well against his former team. Taylor is not expected to play Thursday according to NFL Network.

2. Davis Mills had a rocky NFL debut which was to be expected. Mills looked to have the wrong elements of a few plays. He also couldn't hit backup wideout Andre Roberts over the middle and threw an interception. It was a fine performance considering what Mills showed he could do in the preseason.

3. Mills didn't work with a full load of offensive weapons in the second half. Rookie wideout Nico Collins didn't return to the game after his lone catch and big run early in the game. Veteran slot receiver Danny Amendola left the game with an injury. Tight end Anthony Auclair left with an eye injury. The Texans entered the game without wide receiver Anthony Miller who was inactive.

4. Brandin Cooks is a monster through two games. He is the most dangerous skill position player on the team, and defenses still have trouble covering him and staying with him. Cooks turned in yet another impressive day for this team and hauled in a Davis Mills touchdown pass.

5. The Browns did a solid job against the ground game of the Texans. Mark Ingram averaged under three yards per carry and Tyrod Taylor was the only rusher to have a big play on the ground. This led to a fair number of third-and-long situations which the Texans usually had trouble converting.

6. Justin Reid was set to increase his payday on his next contract with his early play. Reid forced a fumble and had an interception in the first half. Unfortunately, Reid would leave the game multiple times with injuries. The knock on Reid has always been his health.

7. The Texans were worn down by the Browns rushing attack all day. Once Cleveland committed to the run they saw the success of their work culminating in a 26-yard scamper by Nick Chubb for a touchdown. The Browns didn't run as much as I excepted them to run early.

8. Tim Kelly had another nice day calling plays. Kelly remains creative in finding ways to get the ball out of Taylor's hands quickly as well as manufacturing matchups where the Texans can win and pick up yards. He even got creative to get Davis Mills a passing touchdown late in the game. Kelly has been very impressive through two games.

9. Andre Roberts was inexcusably bad today. The Texans defense held on the opening drive and his muffed punt eliminated the momentum from the defensive stand. He also had poor returns on kickoffs. His lone job is to be a solid returner, and he failed at that on Sunday.

10. David Culley had a head-scratching decision foregoing an offsides call on a third down. The head coach opted for the result of the third down, and a punt on fourth down, instead of another third down. He did not explain himself well postgame on the decision either.

11. The Texans hung tough and should feel solid about where they could have been without the injury to their quarterback. With no Taylor in the short week, it will not be easy to beat the Panthers who upset the Saints on Sunday.

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