Houston Rockets Game Day:
Record: 50-23, Western: 2nd Record: 43-30, Eastern: 4th,
Southwest: 1st, last ten 7-3 Atlantic: 1st, last ten 5-5
Houston Rockets vs. Toronto Raptors
Mon Mar 30, 7:30 PM EST – NBAt, CSNH, TSN2, RTSW
Air Canada Centre – Toronto, ON
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- Entering tonight the Rockets have over taken Memphis as the Southwest Division leaders and second seed in the West. They have a vested interest in keeping this spot to avoid playing San Antonio in the first round.
- For their part the Raptors are trying to get back to the defensive effort that saw them ranked in the top ten to finish last season and how they started this season.
- As per above Dwane Casey has finally given in and is now going to utilize James Johnson again. It’s been an interesting period with him not playing the best defender on the team and then somewhat calling him out for his defensive demise when the reality is there are much worse defenders on the team. Zarar Siddiqui of Raptors Republic has a great piece on this.
- As much as Raptor fans are thrilled to be heading back to the post season in consecutive years and Atlantic Division Champs there is a huge out cry in Toronto for Dwane Casey’s firing. Perhaps it’s just the lack of detail being provided regarding decisions, however he’s made some very questionable decisions:
- whether it be benching Ross as late as he did then re-inserting him to the starting five
- not making it a priority to get Valanciunas touches or additional playing time especially in late game scenarios
- allowing Lou Williams to repeatedly run the same play at end of quarters and games
- not calling crucial time-outs
- responding to opponents line-ups instead of forcing them to play to his
- lack of offensive play sets specifically when teams are writing on chalk boards: allow the guards to dribble and play iso ball: it’s what they do
- inability to come up with a realistic defense given his personnel
- If the Raptors don’t win the first round this year they still have close to $30 million of cap space available this summer and draft picks, but it will be difficult to imagine Casey remains if they don’t succeed in getting to the second round.
- Unlike Houston, the Raptors can’t afford to be without their leader Kyle Lowry who is currently out with a back injury. It’s been called a contusion, however the way he left after initially injuring it it seems more spasm and muscle related.
Next: The Numbers Don't Lie