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 now trails in the fall classic

Astros fall in World Series Game 1 as Braves come out swinging

Framber Valdez had a forgettable start in World Series Game 1 as the Braves tagged him with five runs. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

After a dominant end to win the ALCS and American League pennant, the Houston Astros welcomed in the National League champion Atlanta Braves for World Series Game 1 at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday. With Houston favored to win not just this game but the entire series, the Braves shook up those expectations by finding early success at the plate to build a lead they would hold to take a 1-0 series lead.

Final Score: Braves 6, Astros 2

World Series (Best of Seven): Atlanta leads 1-0

Winning Pitcher: A.J. Minter

Losing Pitcher: Framber Valdez

Valdez unable to replicate ALCS Game 5 success as Braves mount early lead

For the optimist, not having home-field advantage in an MLB postseason series affords you a benefit: you can score first and take captive momentum first in the series. The Braves did that against Framber Valdez, as Jorge Soler became the first player in league history to hit a homer in the first plate appearance of a World Series, putting Atlanta out to an immediate 1-0 lead. They would get another in the first frame, getting a one-out infield single by Ozzie Albies, who would steal second to get in position for an RBI double by Austin Riley.

Houston had the chance to respond in their first inning against former teammate Charlie Morton, getting a single and two walks to load the bases with no outs. They'd strand all three runners, though, as Morton made it through unscathed but having used 26 pitches. Atlanta kept putting stress on Valdez, extending their lead to three runs with back-to-back singles to start the second before later getting an RBI groundout.

Valdez gave up two more in the top of the third, once again allowing a leadoff single, this one setting up a two-run homer to make it a 5-0 Braves lead and forcing Houston's starter out of the game early. Yimi Garcia entered and was able to retire the three batters he faced to end the frame.

Braves lose Morton to injury as both bullpens begin long night

After stranding the bases loaded in the bottom of the first to keep the Astros off the board, Morton followed it up with a 1-2-3 second. He started the bottom of the third by retiring his fifth batter in a row, getting a strikeout of Jose Altuve. He would immediately call trainers to get him out of the game, though, as he would later be diagnosed with a fractured fibula, presumably from a ball that ricocheted off his leg in the prior inning, ending his season in a disappointing turn of events for the Braves.

That set up a long night for both bullpens, and next up for Houston was Jake Odorizzi. He started with a scoreless fourth, working around a two-out error to keep it a five-run game. The Astros began a rally in the bottom of the fourth, getting runners on the corners with one out on a Kyle Tucker double and Yuli Gurriel single. Chas McCormick brought in the first run of the board for Houston, but that's all they would get as Atlanta's lead remained four runs.

Astros drop Game 1

Odorizzi kept going on the mound, tossing a 1-2-3 fifth, then getting one out before a one-out single in the top of the sixth would prompt Dusty Baker to move on to Phil Maton, who finished the inning. Maton returned in the top of the seventh, getting a strikeout before a double and a walk would result in the call to bring in Ryne Stanek.

A double play against his first batter allowed Stanek to finish the seventh, and then he returned in the eighth. He faced three batters that frame, getting one out before a walk and a single would put runners on the corners as Houston moved on to Brooks Raley. A sac fly by Freddie Freeman off of Raley made it a five-run lead again, but a leadoff triple by Yordan Alvarez in the bottom of the inning would set up Carlos Correa for an RBI, a groundout to make it 6-2.

Atlanta's bullpen continued to do well, though, limiting the damage to that one run in the eighth, then returning to hold on to the four-run lead in the bottom of the ninth to give the Braves the upset win to start the series. The loss extends their home losing streak in the World Series to five games (having lost all four at home in the 2019 World Series against the Nationals) and puts them down 0-1 and in need of a win in Game 2 to try and reset the series into a best-of-five.

Up Next: World Series Game 2 will be another 7:09 PM Central scheduled start time on Wednesday from Minute Maid Park. The expected pitching matchup is Max Fried, who is 1-1 with a 3.78 ERA in three postseason starts, for the Braves, and Jose Urquidy, who went just 1.2 innings while allowing six runs (five earned) in his start in the ALCS.

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