Missed shots are prohibited

The Rockets report, brought to you by APG&E: Rockets roll past Suns 139-125

It's possible the Rockets go the entire season before ever figuring it out defensively, but offensively, they've clearly reached their apex. The Rockets posted an ungodly offensive rating of 137.2 tonight and more importantly, were carried by their two stars.

James Harden and Russell Westbrook combined for 77 points, 17 assists, 10 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 2 steals on 26 of 48 shooting from the field, 10 of 21 shooting from three-point range, and 15 of 18 shooting from the free throw line. This game adds to what is starting to become a very significant sample size of games where Westbrook is starting to figure it out in this offense next to Harden.

There had been suspicions that Westbrook's hand was inhibiting his shooting performances, so this may be a little reassuring to Rockets fans who perhaps feared that his jumpshot was completely broken.

"I'm a positive guy," said Westbrook after the game. "When I got here, I told guys, 'There's going to be adversity. When adversity hits, what are you going to do?' I've been through so many different things in my career. My whole mindset has been positive."

The sustainability of Westbrook knocking down these tough mid-range jumpers may be something to watch moving forward, but overall, he's looked like a totally different player as of late, including tonight.

Star of the game: In all likelihood, James Harden will not be playing professional basketball in 10 years. I say that to say, it's important to appreciate what he's doing for now because it's so easy to take 47-point games for granted when Harden gets them so frequently. However, this bears repeating, this not normal and Harden's otherworldly talents deserve to be admired now before they're gone.

Harden posted a line of 47 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds, and 1 block on 15 of 27 shooting from the field, 9 of 19 three-point shooting, and 8 of 9 shooting from the free throw line. That would make for an absurd true shooting percentage of 75.9%. Even though the Suns aren't worldbeaters defensively, this was a ridiculous performance.

Honorable mention: Russell Westbrook is averaging 27.0 points, 8.7 rebounds, 7.9 assists, and 1.9 steals on 52.1% true shooting in the month of December. It appears he has started to finally figure out the dynamic of playing alongside Harden, specifically leading second units. Westbrook finished the night with 30 points, 10 assists, 4 rebounds, 2 steals, and 1 block on 11 of 21 shooting from the field, 1 of 2 shooting from three-point range, and 7 of 9 shooting from the free throw line.

Key moment: This game was actually consistently within a 10-point margin for the majority of the game. That changed, however, at the 9:37 mark of the 4th quarter where the Rockets increased their 115-107 lead to 136-116 at the 3:58 mark. James Harden scored or assisted on 16 of these 21 points, including making 4 of his 5 three-pointers attempted.

Up next: The Rockets travel to Sacramento at 9:00 p.m. on Monday to take on the Kings.

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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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