Tonight, the Rockets take on one of the few teams to have already beaten them this season. If they can beat Toronto, they’ll secure their eighth straight win.
The last time these two teams met, the Houston Rockets turned the ball over a whopping 26 times. James Harden was responsible for 12 of those cough-ups by himself, but otherwise played well, finishing with 29 points and 15 assists. Eric Gordon went 1-8 from three and finished with just 9 points. Clint Capela played 30 minutes but managed to come away with only 6 rebounds.
Basically, the Rockets weren’t themselves. The only player who had a respectable game was Patrick Beverley, who led the team in rebounds with 10, along with 10 points and 4 assists. The Toronto Raptors, on the other hand, played one of their better games of the season. Six players finished with at least 14 points, led by DeMar DeRozan with 24, who also added 9 assists and 2 steals.
Tonight, things could and should be different. Houston is coming off a day’s rest, which should help increase the team’s shooting percentage compared to their last game. Neither Gordon nor Harden could find the bottom of the bucket in Orlando, but history says that was a fluke. They’ve also won 7 games in a row and are certainly eager to make up for their last international loss.
Kyle Lowry and company have quite a bit working against them for tonight’s matchup. They are coming off a hard-fought overtime loss to the Chicago Bulls on the road yesterday, in which four players played more than 41 minutes. After such an exhausting outing, they won’t be well rested. Last night’s game ended less than 20 hours before tonight’s tipoff, and the team spent part the night on a plane going back to Toronto.
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The Raptors will certainly want to avenge last night’s loss, but they may simply not have the legs to do it. If the Rockets are able to get out ahead quickly, it may be too much for Toronto to overcome.
However, it won’t be too easy. The Raptors are only 3 games behind the Cleveland Cavaliers for good reason, and both DeRozan and Lowry are capable of exploding on any given night.
For a myriad of reasons, tonight’s matchup will start at 5pm Houston time. That throws me off a bit, but I’d certainly rather take an early start over those 9:30pm West coast games.
The Rockets will have very opportunity to come out on top tonight, so the question is whether or not they’ll take advantage of them. They beat Orlando despite playing poorly, but Toronto won’t let them get away with the same foolishness, despite their exhaustion.
A James Harden triple-double would do wonders for the Houston Rockets tonight. However, the points/assists/rebounds kind would be better than the points/assists/turnovers. Follow @SpaceCity_Scoop for live updates tonight. Then, check back here for a recap of a (fingers crossed) Rockets win.