SHORT HANDED

What is next for the Rockets with Chris Paul out?

Chris Paul's twisting and turning has him off the court for Game 6. Bob Levey/Getty Images

The Rockets made it official on Friday: Chris Paul will not play in Game 6 of the NBA Finals in Oakland on Saturday night. Paul was injured late in the crucial Game 5 victory that put the Rockets up 3-2 in the series.

It remains to be seen if Paul will be available for a potential Game 7 on Monday, or even the NBA Finals should the Rockets get that far. Rest assured, they would not be up 3-2 without his efforts in Games 4 and 5. He was terrific in the second half of Thursday's game, and basically willed the Rockets to victory.

Paul has a long injury history and played 38 minutes in Game 5 before the injury, which was so bad he could not get to the other end of the court to play defense. 

Eric Gordon likely slides into Paul's role, and it probably means more minutes for Gerald Green. It also likely means time on the floor for Luc Mbah a Moute or Ryan Anderson, forgotten men in this series. 

And while Paul's loss is a devastating blow, the Rockets might still be able to pull things out if James Harden can shake a ridiculous slump that has seen him miss 20 consecutive 3-pointers. If he can show up, have a big game and get some help from Gordon and the rest of the supporting cast, the Rockets might be able to get it done. 

If so, it will be without Paul, at least for Game 6 and probably beyond.

 

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

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.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome