ROCKETS 115, GRIZZLIES 103

John Wall and Jae'Sean Tate lead Rockets to dominating victory over Grizzlies

The Rockets suffered a big loss despite getting the win. Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images

The Houston Rockets showed their complete dominance defensively Thursday night versus the Memphis Grizzlies as they won 115-103. No player for the Grizzlies scored over 16 points against the Rockets' defense. John Wall and Jae'Sean Tate stood out the most in the Rockets' win. The saddest part of the night was Christian Wood's ankle injury, which became heartbreaking.

On Wednesday night, the Rockets were defeated by the Oklahoma City Thunder in a blown-out fashion. John Wall did not play because of the passing of his grandmother. The Rockets lacked energy against the Thunder. Wall understood his leadership, guidance, and presence was clearly missing in Wednesday night's loss. In Thursday's victory, Wall had a plus 34 from the field. Wall's misdirection and ability to attack the paint created open opportunities for his teammates. He created pressure on the Grizzlies interior defense, so the Rockets had open shooters on the perimeter. The Rockets shot 42% from the three-point line, including Wall shooting 44% too. Wall increased the Rockets offensive rating from 80.6 to 117.6 against the Grizzlies within two nights.

"It makes it immensely easier," as Coach Silas mentioned on Wall's game. "He has a great feel for the game. He has great feel for the point guard position as far as who needs [a] shot. Attacking defenses and defenders that might not be able to guard him. When you have your leader on the floor it makes every one's job easier."

Wall loves directing the offense, so everyone is involved in different actions and accumulated inside the set. He has become great at catching the defense off guard. Those eight assists came from finding the right teammate in position. Wall finished with 22 points by only taking six shots.

"He [John Wall] sees stuff a lot of people don't see and that's why he is one of the best point guards in the league," as Jae'Sean Tate gave Wall praise. "He is such tough cover because he is so fast and knows how to manipulate the defense to get what we need."

Speaking of Tate, his night was fantastic against the Grizzlies as he took advantage of the creases in their defense. Tate became effective by taking open shots, being aggressive in the paint, and setting quality screens. He even showed his ability to cut towards the basket. Tate's IQ is impressive for a 25-year-old rookie. He shot 77% from the field and had 19 points in Thursday night's game. Tate became sneaky inside the Grizzlies painted area by being 4/4 in the restricted area. Hopefully, Tate climbs the poll of Rookie of the Year candidacy.

"It's about me being comfortable out there," as Tate mentioned to the media. "Just getting more used to the pace of the game and learning how to read the game. The vets are helping me dissect [the] game."

The Rockets' defense did a tremendous job of slowing down the number one bench in the NBA. In the beginning of the game, the Rockets did have a problem slowing down the Grizzlies transition offense. The Rockets' biggest objective was getting back on defense as the Grizzlies were ferocious with their fast break points. As the Rockets eventually got set on defense, the Grizzlies struggled from the field. The Grizzlies shot the three-ball at 34.3%, as the Rockets caused contested attempts. Although the Grizzlies finished with 11 offensive rebounds, only seven of those rebounds came from the first quarter. Houston's defensive rating was a 105.1 versus the Memphis.

"I feel like if we can get back in transition and get our defense set, we can really defend and make it hard on teams. Versatility is key in our defense," as coach Silas praised their defensive performance.

The Rockets eventually went on an 18-4 run late in the second quarter, which helped the second-best defense control the game. It's incredible how the Rockets have the second-best defense in the league as they are right behind the Los Angeles Lakers.

Up next: Hopefully, the Rockets maintain their play as they take on the San Antonio Spurs Saturday night.

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Carlos Correa had a big home run Saturday night. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

With four wins in a row, including the first two of this series, Houston had a chance to keep their momentum going to lock up a series win on Saturday in this four-game set. Although Texas would make it interesting late, the Astros would hold them off to get the victory.

Final Score: Astros 6, Rangers 5

Astros' Record: 23-17, second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Luis Garcia (1-3)

Losing Pitcher: Dane Dunning (2-3)

Action in the first

After getting trounced the night prior, the Rangers managed to grab early momentum with a run to start the scoring Saturday night against Luis Garcia. It came after a one-out triple set up a sac fly, giving Texas a 1-0 lead. Houston quickly took control back in their favor, though, putting up four in the bottom of the inning on a two-RBI single by Alex Bregman and a two-run homer by Carlos Correa, making it 4-1 Astros.

The scoreboard went quiet after that inning, with both teams slowing down at the plate. Garcia put together a decent night, allowing just the one run over five innings of work, erasing some runners throughout the night. His final line: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 0 HR, 94 P.

Rangers tighten it up late

Bryan Abreu was the first reliever to enter for Houston, taking over for Garcia in the top of the sixth. He worked around a leadoff single, keeping it a three-run game, then returned for a 1-2-3 top of the seventh. Correa led off with a double in the bottom of the inning, setting up a two-run Kyle Tucker homer, extending his recent hot streak and the lead to 6-1.

Ryne Stanek took over on the mound for Houston in the top of the eighth but worked himself into trouble with a single and walk to set up a three-run homer by Joey Gallo to make it a two-run game at 6-4. He would manage just one out before a walk would prompt Dusty Baker to move on to Brandon Bielak. Bielak would allow a run while getting the final two outs, making it 6-5.

Astros secure the series

After a scoreless bottom of the eighth, Ryan Pressly would try to notch another save and close the door on the Rangers. He would get the job done, sitting the Rangers down in order, keeping Houston's winning streak intact.

Up Next: The finale of this four-game set will start at 1:10 PM Central on Sunday. Lance McCullers JR. (3-1, 3.10 ERA), fresh off of a recent gem, will look to continue his success for the Astros, while Kyle Gibson (3-0, 2.28) will try to stay perfect on the season for the Rangers.

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