James Leads Raptors to Fifth Straight Win
Toronto 112, Houston 92
TORONTO, Jan. 6 (Ticker) -- Mike James showed the Houston Rockets what they were missing.
James scored 30 points, handed out eight assists and grabbed seven rebounds to lead the Toronto Raptors to their fifth consecutive win, a 112-92 victory over the Rockets.
"It was never a Rafer Alston-Mike James matter, it was not about us two," James said. "It was about Toronto playing Houston tonight. my focus is trying to help my team the Raptors get over that hump."
James, who had averaged 23 points and eight assists in his last four games, made a three-point play over forward Juwan Howard midway through the second quarter. He had some words for Howard, who pushed the basketball in James' face and was ejected.
"After that happened, something clicked inside of me," James said.
James responded by scoring 14 points in the third period. He directed an offense that saw the Raptors shoot 50 percent (41-of-82) overall as they became the first team to shoot 50 percent or better against the Rockets.
"I think that kind of woke him up a bit," Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said. "He was playing well. whatever it released in him, I can take seeing it in about another 50 games."
The Raptors led by as many as 15 points in the third quarter before going into the fourth period with a 77-67 advantage.
Rookie Charlie Villanueva scored the first seven points of the quarter, giving Toronto an 84-67 advantage. The 6-11 rookie had 15 of his 21 points in the period, when the Raptors pulled away.
"I just tried to be more aggressive," Villanueva said. "I was a little soft, but in the second half I became more aggressive at both ends of the floor."
Chris Bosh had 22 points and 16 rebounds and Morris Peterson made four 3-pointers and scored 19 points for Toronto, which won its third straight home game.
Former Raptor Tracy McGrady scored 37 points and David Wesley collected 19 for the Rockets, who went 2-1 on their road trip.
"It was pretty much over in the third quarter," McGrady said. "We weren't focused and those guys were ready to play and they ran away with it."