The Rockets kicked off the 2019-2020 season Thursday night at home against the Milwaukee Bucks. The Rockets jumped out to a massive 16-point lead and controlled the game throughout the first three quarters. Fueled by a Giannis Antetokounmpo triple-double, the Bucks would lead a furious comeback in the fourth quarter to eventually knock off the Rockets.
Tyson Chandler kicks down the door
Tyson Chandler was one of the later additions to the roster this off-season but took very little time making his presence known. In his first seven minutes on the floor in a Rockets uniform the backup big man crushed multiple alley-oops to the tune of 8 points and 4 rebounds. In the first half it looked as though father time had turned back the clock 11 years and slid him into a hornets uniform. Chandler brought a fiery energy on the court in starting center Clint Capela's absence, as well from the sidelines.
New parts need oiling
The Rockets were in control throughout the first three quarters, but the growing pains were apparent. Bobbled passes from Russell Westbrook to Clint Capela, slightly mis-timed alley oop lobs from James Harden to Chandler, and an overall lack of synchronization contributed to Milwaukee climbing back into the game in the fourth quarter. It will take some time for all of the new faces to get on the same page, so there's no reason for concern yet.
If Chandler knocked the door down, Westbrook drove through it with a tank. Brodie brought the same patented relentlessness he became famous for in OKC straight to his first start in Rockets Red. Westbrook carved up Milwaukee inside all night long, in addition to flying over everyone on the court for unreal rebounds. Look for Westbrook to push a much faster tempo all season than previous years.
Rockets Player of the Game
Russell Westbrook: 24 points, 7 assists, 16 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block
Bucks Player of the Game
Giannis Antetokounmpo: 30 points, 11 assists, 13 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block
Per The Athletic's Chandler Rome, Framber Valdez plans on both he and the catcher calling pitches this year. He said he “wants to feel more comfortable,” adding “not that I don't feel comfortable with the catchers, but I want to feel comfortable and throw the pitches with more conviction…to feel like I have the game in my hands.”
Framber Valdez has the PitchCom device on his glove as he warms up before the first inning in West Palm Beach. Yainer Diaz is catching him today. https://t.co/tqgmzwfN7r
— Chandler Rome (@Chandler_Rome) March 1, 2024
Is that a good thing? Either way, it seems like a return to form for Framber Valdez is the biggest “what if” for the 2024 Houston Astros.
Be sure to watch the video above as ESPN Houston's Paul Gallant & Joe George discuss.