Houston Rockets: Player grades from 118-111 win over Toronto Raptors

Houston Rockets P.J. Tucker, James Harden, Tyson Chandler (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
Houston Rockets P.J. Tucker, James Harden, Tyson Chandler (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images) /
Houston Rockets P.J. Tucker, James Harden, Tyson Chandler (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
Houston Rockets P.J. Tucker, James Harden, Tyson Chandler (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Houston Rockets had some standout performances in their 118-111 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Thursday in Tokyo, Japan.

Behind a balanced effort from their superstars Russell Westbrook and James Harden, the Houston Rockets avenged their Tuesday loss to the Toronto Raptors, winning 118-111 to go to 3-1 in the preseason. It was a better all-around effort from the Rockets, as they had five players score in double figures and two players finish with nine points each.

After struggling on the glass in their first matchup, Houston was much more active in that regard. The Rockets drew even with Toronto at 52 total rebounds thanks to efforts from PJ Tucker and Isaiah Hartenstein in addition to Clint Capela doing what he usually does.

Down 63-55 at the half and by 14 in the third quarter, this time it was James Harden and company that rallied to make certain the NBA Japan Games would end in a 1-1 tie. While Clutch City was cold from the outside at 17-for-64 (26.6 percent), Toronto wasn’t exactly making it rain either, finishing 11-for-37 (29.7 percent).

Russell Westbrook finished with 22 points, four assists and three rebounds, while James Harden pitched in 22 points of his own in addition to nine assists and three boards to pace Houston.


Norman Powell led the way for the Raptors, putting in 22 points and pulling down three boards. Pascal Siakam also contributed 16 points and seven boards, while Fred VanVleet pitched in 10 points and 10 assists.

Some of Houston’s supporting cast had standout games while others would like to forget Thursday evening. Here are the individual grades for every Rocket (that played more than three minutes).

Next: The Starters

Houston Rockets Russell Westbrook and James Harden (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
Houston Rockets Russell Westbrook and James Harden (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Houston Rockets Starters

Houston Rockets. JAMES HARDEN. A. James Harden rested the entire fourth quarter but was still able to end the evening with 22 points and nine assists. More importantly, The Beard was active on defense once again, recording three steals and frequently using those opportunities to push fast breaks. Harden’s five turnovers and 1-for-8 shooting from the 3-point line are why he doesn’t get an A+ this time.. Guard

A +. Eric Gordon had another superb game for the Rockets. The open shots are going to be there all season long for him with James Harden and Russell Westbrook constantly applying so much pressure to defenses. If Gordon continues to shoot like he has the last two games, Houston will be extremely difficult to beat. The veteran guard finished with 14 points on 4-of-8 shooting from beyond the arc. He also contributed two boards, a steal and a block in his 22 minutes.. Guard. Houston Rockets. ERIC GORDON

A. It’s starting to sound like a broken record, but Clint Capela again shined when on the floor with Russell Westbrook and James Harden. Sometimes it seems like the two superstars are competing with each other to see who can serve up an easy basket to the big man first. Capela finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and two blocks in 20 minutes.. Center. Houston Rockets. CLINT CAPELA

B +. Russell Westbrook led the Houston Rockets’ comeback in the late third quarter and early fourth with relentless attacks to the basket. While he started the game getting fouled on a 3-pointer and then burying a three from the wing, he again took some questionable shots from the outside as the game went on. Russ is continuing to push the pace and find open teammates but will need to avoid shooting nights like his 3-of-11 from the outside on Thursday. It would be a surprise if he didn’t adapt his game appropriately as he learns the team’s dynamics.. Guard. Houston Rockets. RUSSELL WESTBROOK

Houston Rockets. PJ TUCKER. A +. PJ Tucker had the quietest 10 rebounds I’ve ever seen. After having his worst preseason game earlier in the week, Tucker pulled a complete 180 on Thursday. He finished the night with nine points on 3-for-7 shooting from three, but his efforts on the glass are why he earns an A+. The 6-foot-6 forward led all players with his 10 boards.. Forward

Next: The Bench

Isaiah Hartenstein Houston Rockets (Photo by Kazuhiro NOGI / AFP) (Photo by KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images)
Isaiah Hartenstein Houston Rockets (Photo by Kazuhiro NOGI / AFP) (Photo by KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images) /

The Houston Rockets Bench

C +. It was an up-and-down evening for Danuel House, but mostly down. On the upside, the Houston native played excellent defense; blocking two shots, tallying a steal and showing good position D when drawing a charge in the fourth quarter. On the downside, House started the game cold and later seemed to hesitate to shoot because of that. His shot selection was suspect when he did let it fly, and he ended the game shooting 1-of-8, including 0-of-5 from the 3-point line.. Small Forward. Houston Rockets. DANUEL HOUSE

ISAIAH HARTENSTEIN. A. While it was Jaron Blossomgame that started the preseason impressing on the boards in the first couple of games, Isaiah Hartenstein is making a late push. The 7-foot forward led all players with four offensive rebounds to go along with his four defensive rebounds in just nine minutes. Eight boards in nine minutes plus a clutch assist to Ben McLemore with 26 seconds left is enough to warrant an A for the big man.. Forward. Houston Rockets

B. Tyson Chandler only played 15 minutes but made his presence known when he was on the floor. The veteran center played solid defense and had a couple of blocks to go along with his six points and three rebounds. At his size, a better effort on the boards could have pushed him up to an A, but maybe I’m just being picky based on what I’ve seen him do in the past.. Center. Houston Rockets. TYSON CHANDLER

Houston Rockets. CHRIS CLEMONS. C +. Chris Clemons once again played with high energy, but his shooting percentage from the outside has been off as of late. After going 3-of-11 from 3-point range last time, the 22-year old was 2-for-9 on Thursday. While both threes were in the fourth quarter when Houston most needed them, he may be putting up too many of them on a team that’s full of shooters. I suspect Clemons is shooting so often to ensure he makes the roster, so I wouldn’t expect this trend to continue once he (most likely) does.. Guard

B. Austin Rivers had some nice plays on offense, including a pretty floater in the lane and a step-back 3-pointer in the first half. While he turned the ball over twice and missed five of his seven attempts from downtown, he played solid defense, recording two steals. It was a decent night for Austin.. Guard. Houston Rockets. AUSTIN RIVERS

B. Gerald Green had a pretty quiet night. On offense, he contributed a 3-pointer and an athletic putback dunk to end the evening with five points. He also pulled down four rebounds, with three being on the defensive side. Expect his aggression to grow as the season gets closer.. Shooting Guard. Houston Rockets. GERALD GREEN

BEN MCLEMORE. C +. Ben McLemore played just 13 minutes for Mike D’Antoni on Thursday. He has impressed so far in the preseason but couldn’t find a rhythm this time around. After going 2-of-9 from behind the 3-point line in the last game, McLemore shot just 1-of-5 in his limited minutes. With that said, Ben’s lone basket was the most important of the night, as it gave Houston a four-point lead with 26 seconds left in the game.. Guard. Houston Rockets

With two more preseason games left, expect Mike D’Antoni to start rounding out his lineup in the coming days. With all fringe players having mixed performances, deciding who won’t make the roster is undoubtedly going to be tough.

Next. The NBA reverses course, now stands with Daryl Morey

Next up, Houston returns home on Oct. 16 at 8 p.m. ET to face the San Antonio Spurs.