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.

WWE's Royal Rumble arrives this Sunday at Minute Maid Park. Photo by Paul Muth

I'm not a big sign guy.

You know sign guys. The people who write puns on posters. The ones who carry the letter "D" in one had and a cutout of a literal fence in the other. The "Houston, YOU have a problem" sign guys.

I tried it once when I was 14, was punched in the face, and sort of lost my appetite after that.

Let me explain.

It was April 1, 2001. Wrestlemania 17. I won't ask my parents how much it cost them, but my aunt and uncle scored floor seats to the greatest spectacle in sports entertainment in no better confines than the Astrodome herself and I got to tag along.

It was a hell of a show. Some say it was one of the best Wrestlemanias ever. The card was stacked, including a Triple-H match against the hometown hero The Undertaker that set the stage for the main event.

At precisely two hours and forty-eight minutes into the event, Undertaker sent Triple-H flying over the barricade and "INTO THE STANDS!"

"Holy crap," 14-year-old Paul thought. "They're headed right down my aisle."

Now I'm not sure how it works these days, but back then it was totally customary to bail on your seat and follow the fight as they weaved up and down the aisles. I wasn't about to miss the chance so I grabbed my poorly scribbled wrestling poster, glanced back and my Aunt for the OK, then darted after the action.

The fight snaked its way up to some scaffolding with a camera perched atop. There, the fight would stall as they battled their way to the top. Oblivious to anything but the action in front of me, I threw my sign up as high as I could, probably screamed at the top of my lungs, and my voice probably cracked in the process. I was 14.

Suddenly someone pushed me in the back of my shoulder. I turned around and there was an old lady, maybe five feet tall, standing on her chair. She had the quintessential cowgirl big hair and enough costume jewelry on to short-circuit a metal detector.

"GET THE @#$% OUT THE WAY, BOY," she commanded in the most east Texas accent you've ever heard in your life. I ignored her and turned back around.

Then she pushed me again.

I turned around again and before I had any clue what was happening, this knockoff mini Dolly Parton had already connected a stiff left hook to my temple. She then grabbed my sign and ripped it in half. Stunned, I retreated to my seat while tending to a now bleeding eyebrow thanks to what I assume was a Wal-Mart engagement ring.

Haven't really been a big sign guy since.

But this weekend the WWE takes over Minute Maid Park for their annual Pay-Per-View event known as the Royal Rumble. It will be the first time since that fateful night in the Astrodome 19 years ago that I've returned to a high profile wrestling event.

Now am I looking forward to this weekend as an opportunity to retake the dignity that was ripped away so long ago? Probably not. I'll most likely just drink a bunch of beer and yell at wrestlers with my friends. But I'm not ruling anything out.

Now instead of a power rankings this week, I figured that in the spirit of the Royal Rumble we could rehash some of the best sports fights Houston's served up:

#5 Charles Barkley throws man through window

Now I know this one didn't happen on a court, but the story is just too good. In a classic case of "play stupid games, win stupid prizes," a 5'2" Floridian by the name of Jorge Lugo decided to harrass the 6'6" then-power forward for the Houston Rockets at an Orlando bar . Barkley ignored and avoided the issue until a Lugo-thrown glass intended for Barkley missed and struck a nearby woman. Bad move. When judge presiding over the ensuing case asked Barkley if he had any regrets, The Round Mound of Rebound replied "Yeah, I regret we weren't on a higher floor."

#4 Chris Paul serves a two-piece to Rajon Rondo

This one is actually fairly recent and adds to what I discovered was a hefty list of Rockets throw downs. After breaking up a stare down between Lakers forward Brandon Ingram and James Harden, Paul and Rondo began a heated chest-to-chest exchange. From all replay indications it appeared as if Rondo then spit on Paul, which triggered a disrespectful finger push to Rondo's face, which then descended into a good old fashioned knuckle sandwich exchange. Paul was suspended for two games.

#3 Derrick Lewis verifies amateur of amateur status

Some dude actually had the nerve to walk in to UFC Heavyweight fighter and Houston native Derrick Lewis' gym and pick a fight. The amateur claimed that he would knock Lewis out because he was an MMA fighter, and not a real boxer. "The Black Beast" was more than happy to oblige, and swiftly teleported the no name into the shadow realm.

#2 Vernon Maxwell fights Portland man

Sometimes people forget that sporting events are intended to be family friendly. Some also forget that players are people with actual feelings. Maxwell claims that aside from general harassment, a Portland fan decided to bring Maxwell's wife's recent miscarriage to light as well. Maxwell stood up from the bench, calmly walked up the stairs, and knocked the crap out of the dude. Maxwell was suspended 10 games.

#1 Andre Johnson baptizes Courtland Finnegan

It had been seasons in the making. Finnegan had built a reputation out of adding cheap shots here and there, ripping helmets off at the end of plays, and various other dirty tactics. In late November of 2010 Johnson had reached the end of his rope. Schadenfreude was the flavor of the day for all Texans fans as Johnson manhandled Finnegan, reigning down fists of righteous justice.

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