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.

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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