FALCON POINTS

Yes, fans have the right to boo the Astros. You have the right to ignore it

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As we prepare for the start of baseball and the restart of the NBA, Houston sports fans will get to revisit some old story lines. Can James Harden and Rona Westbrook pull it together long enough for one surprising playoff run? If the Dynamo fall in the bubble, does anyone hear it? And most common, will the national media ever get over the Astros scandal?

To quote Letterkenny: That's a hard no.

It's already started, of course. ESPN.com had an article on how fans are being cheated from booing the Astros. While he is correct in that other team's fans would have been merciless (and still will when they finally get the chance), speculating that the Astros own fans would boo is kind of silly. Using a spring training game as an example is a fail. Spring training draws fans from all teams.

That aside, you can expect more sanctimonious, holier-than-thou diatribes in the coming weeks on the subject. The main question is why? It's pretty simple. The Astros cheated. They got caught. They got punished. End of story.

At least it should be the end of the story. But we live in a media culture where everything is overanalyzed, over reported, and hot takes rule the day.

The reason is simple: Media members want to be part of the story. There is an entire cottage industry based on what members of the media say. Websites publish stories daily detailing hot takes. And the Astros are an easy target. It's nothing new. The Saints Bountygate case was endlessly and pointlessly debated. Deflategate led to lengthy debates on PSI. Everyone had a take, screaming into the microphones, using pejorative phrases and inflaming the subject, context be damned.

It's not just sports. Wear a mask. Don't wear a mask. Everyone has a take, and their take has to be heard, because it is the most important. What gets lost is reason and context, because that does not contribute to the noise. Takes are designed to get a reaction, to get a response, and build upon themselves.

So how do we change it? Stop retweeting takes. Ignore the noise. It can't grow without being fed. The Astros will be the obvious topic again over the next few months. Rather than get enraged, just move on. Comment on real topics with context and depth; avoid the either/or mentality.

Is that realistic? Probably not. We live in a "gotcha" society. If someone messes up, they are to be canceled. That will include the Astros. All of the takes that dominated earlier in the year will be back. This is just the first of many stories to deal with the issue.

Hey, Fred, isn't this whole column just responding to a hot take? Gotcha!

Perhaps. But the point is bigger. The hot take response would be "Waaah. You don't get to boo. Poor you." The reality is the writer uses the Astros as a way to make booing acceptable, which is fine. There is not a lot to dispute there. But it also uses the scandal of the day as an entrance point. There will be a lot more of this moving forward and the best thing Astros fan can do is ignore the noise, enjoy the ride as the team rolls to another World Series title in 2020.

Then the noise will be louder than ever.

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ROCKETS BEAT THUNDER

Rockets blast Thunder in home opener, 124-91

Rockets take care of business in home opener. Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets had an impressive outing versus the Oklahoma City Thunder after an embarrassing loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday night. They took care of business at home on Friday night, which was a surprising blowout. The Rockets didn't have to worry about Karl-Anthony Towns screaming at Alperen Sengun or Anthony Edwards telling Coach Silas to call a timeout. Instead, they took their frustrations out on the Thunder (another younger core).

"We responded and bounced back from that game 1," Silas said. "I wouldn't say it was taking anything out. It was just learning and applying to what you learn and that's going to be us this year. Applying to what you learn and getting better and having some games like we had the other day. Veteran teams have some games when they don't play as well they want."

Christian Wood led the way, as he controlled the paint on all aspects with rebounding and putbacks. He played an incredible game after having a poor performance versus the Timberwolves. Silas showed complete trust in allowing Wood to open sets, as he walked the ball down the court several times, and in transition too. Wood became aggressive on the perimeter with open shooting and tough shots, and long strides towards the rim. He finished the night with 31 points and 13 rebounds off 66 percent shooting from the field.

The young core for the Thunder had a tough night defending Wood from every aspect. Hopefully, he keeps this play up. Silas loved the space that was created throughout the game for Wood, which included the help from Eric Gordon, as he continued to play better. Wood continues to develop underneath the Silas umbrella. He had a great feel for off-the-dribble shooting a few times. Wood becomes more dangerous when space is created on the court.

"It allows me to show what I can do. It allows the floor to be open and I can create for other guys and create for myself," Wood said.

As Gordon continues to impress, his teammate Kevin Porter Jr was amazed with his performance.

Gordon looked marvelous inside and outside of the paint, as it looked like a time ripple. The younger guards of the Thunder had a tough time staying in front of Gordon. His size and strength gave the Thunder a huge problem. Gordon is shooting the ball better too, as he is shooting the three-ball at 70 percent this season. Although it's a small sample size, Gordon is trying to overcome his shooting struggles from last year. Gordon finished with 22 points on 66 percent shooting versus the Thunder.

"EG is the biggest part of this squad," Porter said. He comes in and just scores. We need somebody off the bench to do that. He is our guy when me and J come out, it's EG time and he knows that, and comes in aggressive. So much energy on the bench, and we need that every night from him if we want a chance to win."

As I recently mentioned Porter, his facilitation did look better versus the Thunder than the Timberwolves. Porter had nine turnovers in his first game but managed to have two Friday night. He made great slip passes and found open teammates in the open corner. Porter forced a good number of passes versus the Timberwolves but looked more relaxed Friday night. The hardest position in the NBA is the point guard position, but Silas will not allow Porter to fail. Instead of nine turnovers, Porter dished out nine assists. Silas said:

"Bounce back right, going from nine turnovers to nine assists… I think he had two turnovers tonight, which is great. He is making plays for his teammates, and he was really focused."

Porter's shiftiness and creative ability allowed his teammates to get open looks near the rim. He had 18 points because of his step-back threes and first step going towards the basket. Thankfully, Porter is a great ball handler, which confuses defenders on different spots on the court. It's almost like watching a ballerina skate on ice in the Olympics. Hopefully, his confidence continues to get better throughout the year. Porter shot the three-ball at 50 percent tonight. Efficiency is key for Porter this year.

"I'm just trying to let the game slow down," Porter said. "I had a lot of turnovers last game and I just wanted to piggyback and learn from them and learn from some of my forced passes and reads. And sometimes I still force it a little bit. My guys hate that, and sometimes I'm still passive and I'm working on that. When to pass and score and bounce it out, and tonight I felt like I did a good job of that."

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