A normal blowout

The Rockets report, brought to you by APG&E: Rockets pummel short-handed Warriors in San Francisco 135-105

When the Rockets traded Clint Capela and their 2020 first round pick for Robert Covington at the trade deadline, nights like this is what they envisioned. Defensively, they have versatility to switch effectively and the quickness to double and recover when necessary. Offensively, they have a spaced floor for James Harden and Russell Westbrook to attack the rim uninhibited and make defenders pay with three-point shooting for doubling. To be fair, this was a pretty weak opponent, but the execution and effort from Houston was there in a way that could lead them to success against better opponents.

The Rockets were on fire from three-point range in the first quarter and that continued on for the rest of the night (25 of 49 from three-point range - 51.0%). The open looks they were getting from normal drive and kicks stood out and probably highlighted why Golden State is in the position they are this season.

New additions Robert Covington and Jeff Green both looked pretty good tonight, combining for 37 points and 9 rebounds on 13 of 20 shooting from the field and 9 of 15 shooting from three-point range. It's just one game, but it looks like Green will take the backup center role away from Thabo Sefolosha, with Sefolosha and DeMarre Carroll likely on the edges of the rotation. There's still plenty of time to get a clearer picture though. Overall, Houston's pivot and commitment to micro-ball at the trade deadline seems to be paying of.

Star of the game: James Harden was a team-high +32 for the Rockets in addition to having 29 points, 10 assists, 3 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 blocks. He didn't shoot the ball well is (6 of 16 from the field and 3 of 12 from three-point range), but because he got to the line a lot (14 of 15 from the charity stripe) he managed to have a true shooting percentage of 64.2%, giving him the edge over Russell Westbrook for tonight.

Honorable mention: Russell Westbrook continued his pre-All-Star-break hot stretch tonight, tallying 21 points, 10 assists, 5 rebounds, and a steal on 10 of 20 shooting from the field and 1 of 2 shooting from three-point range. He was fast, he was springy, and he was effective at poking holes in an already very weak Warriors' defense.

Key moment: The Rockets outscored the Warriors 38 to 17 in the first quarter and it was pretty much over from there. Houston shot a blistering 8 for 12 from three-point range while Golden State shot a measly 0 for 6. They looked like a team that was foaming at the mouth for the All-Star break to be over. James Harden looked as sharp as he's ever been this season on both ends (11 points, 5 assists, 1 block, and 1 steal), Russell Westbrook carried his pre-break momentum into the game (9 points, 2 assists, 2 rebounds, 4 of 9 shooting from the field), and the Rockets were getting and hitting open shots from all over the floor.

Up next: The Rockets travel to Utah on Saturday at 8:00 p.m. to play the Jazz.

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This week the NASCAR cup series heads to the world center of racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, for the inaugural fourth of July version of the Brickyard 400. This is unprecedented for NASCAR considering over the course of 50 years they are usually in Daytona around this time. While this move was met with a lot of criticism from fans, there is a positive to come from this move though, as the sport will hold their first doubleheader with Indycar. This has been talked about for many years and now it has finally come to fruition. Another new facet of this weekend will be the Xfinity Series running on the road course configuration. This could very well lead to the cup series transitioning from the oval to the road course next season should everything go well when the Xfinity series does it. It will definitely be an interesting weekend.

Last week, Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin dominated the first-ever doubleheader at Pocono. The two drivers finished first and second in both races with Harvick taking race one and Hamlin winning race two. Both of these races came down to pit-road strategy as Harvick was able to eke out a victory by taking two tires and fuel while his teammate Aric Almirola took four. The next day Denny Hamlin pretty much had the whole field covered as he went on to claim his fourth victory of the season. Overall, the idea of two races in a weekend went over well but for the racing itself, it was hard to watch. One of the main issues I had was how the drivers didn't have to shift this week. In my opinion, that was what made this track so unique. It was an oval that had road course characteristics and it usually produced some pretty good finishes. Hopefully this will be addressed when the new car makes its debut in 2022.

One of the big stories going into this week is the announcement a couple of weeks ago that NASCAR will be moving their all-star event to Bristol Motor Speedway. Over the past couple of weeks, there has been a whirlwind of news from the Bubba Wallace story at Talladega, to the doubleheader races last week. A lot of this has put this announcement on the back burner but this is a huge story. The race will be held on Wednesday, July 15th as NASCAR continues with midweek races. This is the first time since 1986 that the race will not be run at NASCAR's home track in Charlotte back when it took place at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The format will be pretty much the same as all the winners from 2019 and 2020 will all have an automatic birth into the race while the rest of the field will run in the open event the day before. The main event will feature four stages including a 15 lap closer around one of NASCAR's most popular race tracks. I think this move was long overdue and I hope that they continue with it in the future. Don't get me wrong, there isn't anything wrong with the race at Charlotte but I think a change of pace would be welcomed. I look forward to seeing how this turns out.

As we move on to Indy this weekend, the driver I have winning is Kurt Busch. This weekend will be the 2004 Cup Series champion's 700th career start, and he's won just about every race that there is to be won except this one here at the Brickyard. This week, that is going to change. It hasn't been the most consistent season for the Vegas native, but he still sits tenth in points and right in the thick of the playoff battle. This track isn't his best as he currently has a 19.42 average finish, including a dismal 30th place finish last year. But this week, I think he gets back on track with a victory as he starts second. The veteran has flown under the radar this year, but he has definitely shown spurts where we think he is going to break-out. He also has runs where it seems like him and his team are mid-pack, but there aren't many drivers out there that have the experience he has. And a talented driver like him always finds a way to bounce back. Look for Kurt Busch to take the #1 Monster Energy Camaro to victory lane.

All stats and information used in this article are brought to you by the good folks at driveraverages.com and Racing-Reference.com, the best websites for all NASCAR stats.

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