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Houston Rockets vs Toronto Raptors game preview - November 9

N.B. Lindberg
Houston Rockets v Toronto Raptors
Houston Rockets v Toronto Raptors / Mark Blinch/GettyImages
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Houston Rockets vs Toronto Raptors: X-Factor

The Rockets’ X-factor is Kevin Porter Jr. What makes him so crucial to the Rockets’ chances is how well he will take care of the ball. Porter leads the Rockets in turnovers, and as their nominal point guard, he has to be the first line of defense against the Raptors’ predatory defensive scheme. 

If Porter can keep his turnovers below his season-per-game average of 3.8, the Rockets’ offense will stand a fighting chance. The key is for him not to force anything on offense because the Raptors thrive on generating offense from defense. 

The X-factor for the Raptors is Christian Koloko. The rookie center has started the past four games and has held his own, but he is the definite weak link in their starting lineup. Koloko is massive, listed at 7’1 230 pounds, but he has struggled to secure defensive rebounds against starting units. His 15.1% defensive rebounding percentage over the past four games is a concerningly poor mark from a center. 

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If the Rockets are going to upset the Raptors, they’re likely going to have to brutalize them on the offensive glass. If Koloko becomes an easy target, the Rockets could swing the possession battle in their favor, which is a losing recipe for the Raptors.