Losing Ground

The time is now for Morey to make a major move to improve Rockets

Daryl Morey is not likely to sit idly by as the Rockets struggle. Rockets.com

Daryl Morey knows this team as currently constructed doesn't have enough to win a championship. In fact, it already looks like this team isn't as good as the one that came one hamstring away from potentially winning it all. It's actually a good thing if Morey can look at his roster, look in the mirror and realize there is work to be done for a roster that was expected to be top 4 in the league. The biggest loss was when assistant coach Jeff Bzdelik walked away and decided to call it a career. The timing of his departure was even more unfortunate as it came on the heels of the start of training camp with little to no time to find a replacement. Without him at the defensive helm, the team looks unorganized, uninspired and completely checked out of the defensive end.

The addition of Carmelo Anthony has proven to be more of a distraction than a success. Anthony is the main focus of the media and he is quick to oblige with comments centered on his mental struggle with the lesser role he has been given and time for him to adjust and accept the changes. It's exactly what everyone hoped would not happen, but was what most experts and basketball minds predicted when he was bought out by the Hawks and decided to join the Rockets. Eric Gordon in in the midst of a horrible shooting slump to start the year and don't think for a second that the addition of Anthony has nothing to do with it. The fact is, it has everything to do with it as EG struggles to play a different role with other players getting the shots and crunch time minutes that used to belong to him. The truth is there are more problems than answers and all the while the team everyone is chasing quietly got better and continues to roll.

The Warriors have won back to back NBA titles and yet they continue to get better, add more pieces and win at a high level while playing both ends of the floor. They also know that most players that have attempted to beat them and have failed, welcome the chance to join them and chase championships. Golden State was able to add Boogie Cousins in the off season and it's just unheard of that a World Championship team could go out and add an All-Star center at a quarter of the usual price it should have taken to sign him. They have the titles and the swagger and the Bay and that has made them the premiere destination for free agents and veterans that are fading a bit, because they know if they go, chances are they will walk away with a ring. As long as they still have Durant, Curry, Green and Thompson and they stay healthy, they are going to be extremely hard to beat. The Rockets had the ideal chance last season and the perfect storm brewing to knock the "Dubs" out and get themselves in The Finals and we all know how that story ended. Smart people in high ranking positions with other teams in the league know that in order to be the best, you have to beat the best and that means off the court in the draft and free agency, as well as on the court.

Morey is a smart guy and as much as he is the master of the media and propping up his team and organization by saying all the right things to make people believe this team is better than a year ago and more equiped to win a title, quietly we all have to hope he sees a squad with too many flaws to compete for a crown. The Jazz are better and so are the Spurs and if you haven't heard, the Lakers got LeBron James. Teams all around the West have improved their roster and with it, their chances of moving ahead of Houston.

The good news is that there is still plenty of time and at least one guy out there that could instantly take you and your title hopes up a notch to a more realistic chance to win it all. Jimmy Butler has been on Morey's radar for quite a while and unlike Melo, if he can get him in his prime and get him in here with plenty of time, the team elevates to a totally different level of title contender. Morey is now rumored to be willing to give up four first round picks, Eric Gordon and others to bring the Tomball native back home and no one should be shocked or think that an offer like that is too much to do.

If the Rockets are at the level they expect to be for the next several years, those picks would not bring players that could play significant minutes and they might not even be able to crack the rotation. If not Butler, there are others out there that can help and the opportunity to acquire them needs to be right now. That's right, there is no more flexibility to wait for talent to develop and personalities and abilities to mix.

The time is now for Morey and the Rockets to go for it all and with CP3 older and only signed for a few more years, it's full blown go time for Red Nation and "NBA title or bust" must be the mentality. No excuses or substitute will be acceptable to the city and its fan base, not to mention the teams' owner Tillman Fertita. It's only October and this can all be forgotten if the right moves are made to insure that the team is playing in late May and June for the second straight year.

 

 


 

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Houston is falling down the rankings

Tigers pound Odorizzi, Astros with homers as Houston drops fourth in a row

The Astros have not looked great in their last four games. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

After watching their hot start of 6-1 cool down to a 6-4 record with three straight losses, the Astros returned to Minute Maid Park on Tuesday night, looking to do a better job at home against a beatable Tigers team.

Recent games' woes would continue, though, with Houston's pitching getting blasted by the opposing offense and their own bats primarily quiet.

Final Score: Tigers 8, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 6-5, tied for second in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Matthew Boyd (2-1)

Losing Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi (0-1)

Astros score first, then Tigers unload on Odorizzi

Houston looked to have something brewing in the bottom of the second, with three singles in the first four batters of the inning, the third an RBI-single by Myles Straw to put the Astros in front 1-0. However, Matthew Boyd would limit the damage, getting back-to-back strikeouts to end the threat.

After two easy innings for Jake Odorizzi in his regular-season debut for his new team, he would allow a game-tying solo homer to Akil Baddoo, his fourth of the year, in the top of the third. Detroit struck again in the top of the fourth, getting a leadoff double to set up a two-run go-ahead home run to jump ahead 3-1.

They didn't stop there, getting another two-run bomb later in the same inning; a frame that would take Odorizzi 31 pitches to get only one out before Houston would bring in Bryan Abreu to get the last two outs. Odorizzi's final line in his debut: 3.1 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 3 HR, 0 BB, 4 K, 80 P.


Detroit continues home run parade, Houston loses fourth in a row

Abreu would hope to do what Luis Garcia did the night before, eat up as many innings as possible after a poor outing from Houston's starter. The Tigers would get yet another two-run homer, though, in the top of the fifth, extending their lead to 7-1, with all seven runs coming over a three-inning span. For good measure, they'd knock one more out with two outs in the top of the ninth, making it 8-1.

As far as Houston at the plate, other than their string of hits to bring in a run earlier in the second, they were getting nothing done against Boyd, who would go six and two-thirds innings. Detroit's bullpen would finish things off, despite an all-too-late sac fly by the Astros in the bottom of the ninth, with Houston dropping their fourth-straight game and continuing to lose ground in the division.

Up Next: The finale of this three-game set with Detroit will be an hour earlier on Wednesday, getting underway at 6:10 PM Central. Lance McCullers Jr. (1-0, 1.80 ERA) will try to maintain his perfect record and improve upon his two five-inning one-run starts for the Astros, going opposite of Michael Fulmer (0-0, 2.57 ERA) for the Tigers.

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