Breaking News NBA Slider

Rockets in Toronto!!

Rockets in Toronto

Toronto’s second unit couldn’t sustain a big third quarter and a 22-point comeback by the starters on Tuesday, and the Raptors dropped an ugly 107-95 decision to James Harden and the Houston Rockets. Kawhi Leonard had 26 points to lead the Raptors (46-19), who dug themselves a 22-point deficit in the second quarter, made a game of it in the third, and saw their momentum hit a brick wall with the bench in the fourth.

“I don’t know [what’s wrong], man,” Kyle Lowry said. “I think it’s a coaches question. For us as players, we’ve just got to go out there and play harder and move the ball, share the ball better and get back on defence. That second unit, whoever that group is, they’ve got to continue to follow the game plan and just play harder, honestly.”

Harden had 19 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter as the Rockets (39-25) stretched their winning streak to six games.

Pascal Siakam added 17 points for Toronto, while Danny Green added 14 and Serge Ibaka chipped in with 10.

Coming off a 112-107 overtime loss to former coach Dwane Casey and his Detroit Pistons on Sunday, the Raptors has a horrible first half in Tuesday’s much-anticipated battle against one of the league’s elite teams. Toronto coughed up 19 points on turnovers, and made just three of 13 three-point shots.

The Rockets blasted the game open with a 17-2 second-quarter run to go up by 22, and the Raptors trudged off the Scotiabank Arena court at halftime to a smattering of boos.

The Raptors starters roared out of the break with a 15-2 run of their own, outscoring the Rockets 34-14 in the third quarter — Siakam’s 15 points alone in the frame topped Houston’s — and led 71-69 with one quarter to play.

Toronto made some major moves at the trade deadline, acquiring Marc Gasol and Jeremy Lin, and also acquired Patrick McCaw, who all came off the bench Tuesday. Raptors coach Nick Nurse has moved Gasol in and out of the starting lineup.

The Rockets shot the lights out in the fourth quarter, and when Harden drilled a three with just under six minutes to play, the long bomb was Houston’s seventh three-pointer of the quarter, giving the visitors a 14-point lead. Two free throws from Ibaka sliced Houston’s lead to nine points, but that was as close as Toronto would come.

The Raptors at least have the schedule on their side the rest of the way. Tuesday’s game was one of three remaining in the regular-season against teams that have a winning record, the fewest of any team in the league. They face Oklahoma City in a home-and-home series later this month.

The Raptors’ next six games are against opponents with sub .500 records, beginning Friday when they play in New Orleans. They’ll play in Miami on Sunday and in Cleveland on Monday, before returning home to host the Los Angeles Lakers on March 14.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *