Statement win.

The Rockets report, brought to you by APG&E: Rockets with huge win against Clippers in Los Angeles

It's one win, but sometimes that's all it takes to make a statement. Houston entered Staples Center Thursday night with the need for a big win. Though they were 7-3 in their last 10 games, but the Rockets haven't exactly racked up convincing wins to say to least. This was their chance; the stage was big and they took advantage of it.

The impact that Russell Westbrook can have on his best nights really stood out in this game. Westbrook isn't going to be a steady ship night in and night out - that's not the player he is. However, his peaks as a player are so tantalizing that it's easy to understand why a team would trade as much as Houston did to acquire someone like him. Chris Paul, even in his best nights last season, could not provide Houston with what Westbrook did tonight. Even as a skeptic of the trade, it's only fair to give Westbrook this.

All season the Rockets have exhibited signs of a tier two title contender; a title contender that needs x, y, and z to go right to truly win at the highest levels. This is the kind of win that shows you they have the ability to reach a tier one contender, but it will require more nights like this and consistency on defense to earn that status. This was a nice step in the right direction though.

For a player like Danuel House to perform at the level he did on a night like this is huge. House had missed the prior two games against the Clippers due to injury and this is significant because the Clippers are the ultimate proving ground game for a player like him on this specific team. The Rockets are going to ask him to guard players like Paul George and occasionally Kawhi Leonard, and it was encouraging to see him tread water.

The Rockets still have plenty of moments of inconsistency - notably, the entire first half. However, the fact that they can have stretches like they had in the 3rd quarter are why it's hard to completely dismiss Houston as a bonafide title contender. This win obviously doesn't paint to full picture for Houston as a team, but it could be a nice point to turn the corner if they choose to do so.

Star of the game: This wasn't Russell Westbrook's most efficient game as a Rocket, but it was definitely his best considering the opponent and the moments in the game where he got most of his points. All season, the Rockets have gone into droughts when James Harden has sat on the bench and not only did that not happen tonight, Westbrook was instrumental in getting Houston their first lead of the game. Westbrook logged 40 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1 steal tonight on 54.5% true shooting. He was hitting shots, getting to the rim in transition and in the halfcourt, and overall, led a tight ship.

Honorable mention: James Harden wasn't as aggressive as he normally was in the first three quarters (16 points, 9 assists, and 5 turnovers), but he more made up for that in the fourth quarter (12 points on 3 of 5 shooting from the field and 2 of 3 shooting from three-point range). Harden finished the game with 28 points, 10 assists, 2 steals, 1 rebound, and 1 block on 8 of 16 shooting from the field and 5 of 11 shooting from three-point range.

Key moment: Houston won this game in the third quarter, outscoring the Clippers 36 to 18. Westbrook led the charge (11 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists) and the Rockets followed roaring back from their 15-point halftime deficit in monsterous fashion.

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

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Houston gets another victory in Anaheim

Astros overpower Angels again as magic number dwindles

Kyle Tucker had 3 of Houston's RBI on Tuesday night, including a two-run homer. Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images

After a beatdown of the Angels on Monday in the opener, the Astros entered Tuesday's game looking to replicate that success. Though Los Angeles would put up more of a fight, Houston still used their potent offense to keep the game out of reach.

Final Score: Astros 10, Angels 5

Astros' Record: 90-61, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jose Urquidy (8-3)

Losing Pitcher: Packy Naughton (0-3)

Houston's bats keep connecting to back up Urquidy

The Astros picked up on Tuesday's game where they left off on Monday, launching homers to take and extend a lead. A leadoff walk by Carlos Correa in the top of the second set up Kyle Tucker, who drove a two-run shot. Aledmys Diaz was next, making it back-to-back jacks to push the new lead to 3-0.

That gave Jose Urquidy a lead to work with, which came in handy as former Astro Jack Mayfield cut the lead to two runs with a leadoff solo homer in the bottom of the second. Other than that, Urquidy did well through five innings, allowing just two other hits over that span. LA got to him in the sixth, getting two singles to set up a three-run homer to end his night. His final line: 5.1 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 2 HR, 79 P.

The runs keep coming

He would still leave in line for the win, though, as before that bottom of the sixth, the Astros had put up seven more runs across the fifth and sixth. A leadoff walk in the top of the fifth was followed by a two-run homer by Jose Altuve, then later in the frame, an RBI single by Aledmys Diaz made it 7-1. They pushed that to double digits in the sixth, with a leadoff solo shot by Martin Maldonado, a sac fly by Carlos Correa, and an RBI groundout by Kyle Tucker, putting them up 10-1 before the homer allowed by Urquidy cut that to 10-4.

Astros win to reduce magic number again

In the sixth, Cristian Javier took over for Urquidy, finished that inning, and returned for a scoreless seventh. He ran into Shohei Ohtani to lead off the bottom of the eighth and left a fastball in the zone, which Ohtani turned around 445 feet to make it a five-run game. Javier still got through the inning, leaving just the ninth for Houston's second reliever of the night, Josh James. James would get through a scoreless inning, erasing a leadoff walk as the lopsided win paired with an A's loss reduces Houston's magic number to 4.

Up Next: The third of this four-game series will be another 8:38 PM Central start on Wednesday. Janson Junk (0-1, 2.25 ERA) will make his third career start for the Angels, while Luis Garcia (11-7, 3.37 ERA) will have the ball for the Astros.

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