CHRIS PAUL RETURNED

Why were things awkward in Houston Monday night?

Rockets.com

Chris Paul was in Houston on Monday night to play his former team the Houston Rockets. Paul now plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder which is Russell Westbrook's old team. Things were real interesting to see how James Harden and Paul intervened with each other on the court.

This past summer, Paul was traded to OKC for the rights to Westbrook. Daryl Morey told reporters that they wanted to keep Paul in Houston. People were suspecting that Paul and Harden were not getting along. Last season, the Rockets lost to the Golden State Warriors in the playoffs. A source was told that Harden and Paul had a verbal altercation in the locker room. Players on the team denied that there was any tension between the two. Everybody also heard that Harden went to the front office and told them to choose between the two. Harden later on denied that he even went to the front office.

When the Thunder made Westbrook available, the Rockets wanted to figure out every way to get him here. Paul's contract was too huge to move at first but Morey found a way. Harden approved the trade because he wanted to play with his best friend again. Sadly, Paul's time in Houston was cut short after signing a four year extension. The question is should Paul feel betrayed by the trade? No, the fact is that Westbrook is better and younger than Paul. At the end of the day, the NBA is a business, so Paul understands. Even though the Thunder lost, Paul also told reporters after the game that Westbrook gives them an edge. He has watched all of the Rockets game this season.



The Rockets did honor Paul with a tribute video in Monday night's game. Is it because Houston feels bad for trading him? Probably not, but still wanted to show respect to Paul. He had a great first season with the Rockets minus the injuries. Paul was a reason why Houston made it seven games against the Warriors. It will always be a "what if" Paul played in game seven against the Warriors. That will always be a huge question in Houston. Harden and Paul both say that they still have love for each other. This Monday night said otherwise as we saw Harden do petty things to Paul. Neither did one of them speak to each other after the game. Paul spoke to everyone on the team after the game besides Harden. Paul mentioned to reporters that he still keeps in touch with PJ Tucker, Westbrook, and Gary Clark.





Hopefully Harden and Paul can one day tell the real story between them.


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Houston drops the game to Arizona

D-backs outslug Greinke and Astros to take series opener

Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

With the series win over the Rangers by taking two of three games in the middle of the week, the Astros welcomed the Diamondbacks to Minute Maid Park for a three-game weekend series, Houston's final three regular-season home games. Here is how the opener unfolded:

Final Score: Diamondbacks 6, Astros 3.

Record: 25-26, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Zac Gallen (2-2, 3.00 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Luis Garcia (0-1, 2.53 ERA).

Houston scores first, but Arizona grabs a lead against Greinke

Houston would get on the board first on Friday night, with George Springer reaching base in the bottom of the first on an error, moving to second on a walk, then to third on a single, as the Astros loaded the bases with no out to threaten a big inning. Instead, they would come away with just one run, with Springer taking home on a wild pitch, grabbing the 1-0 lead, but leaving runs on the table.

They doubled their lead in the bottom of the third, getting a two-out RBI-double by Kyle Tucker to make it a 2-0 Houston lead. The D-backs responded in the top of the fourth, getting back-to-back singles to lead off the inning before a three-run homer by Kole Calhoun off of Zack Greinke would put Arizona in front, 3-2. Greinke would finish one more inning before Houston would move to their bullpen, striking out the side to bring his total to nine on the night, making the bad fourth inning the one blemish on his night. His final line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 9 K, 1 HR, 89 P.

Astros tie it, but D-backs take the opener

George Springer would get Greinke off the hook in the bottom of the fifth, leading off the half-inning with a solo bomb to tie the game at 3-3. Luis Garcia was first out of Houston's bullpen and retired Arizona in order for a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the sixth. He returned for the top of the seventh but would allow a leadoff single, RBI-triple, and wild pitch to bring in two runs. He would face two more batters, allowing a double and getting a strikeout, before Dusty Baker would come out to get him, now down 5-3.

Blake Taylor would make his return from the IL after Garcia, getting back-to-back outs to finish the inning. He continued on in the 5-3 game in the top of the eighth, but allowed a one-out solo homer to Calhoun, his second of the night and fourth RBI. That made it a 6-3 D-backs lead, which would go final as Houston would go scoreless after Springer's home run back in the fifth.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game set will start Saturday at 6:10 PM Central. The pitching matchup will be Luke Weaver (1-7, 6.70 ERA) for Arizona and Cristian Javier (4-2, 3.22 ERA) for Houston.

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