Game Rap: Raptors 122, Rockets 129

Holly MacKenzie - Raptors.com

IT WAS OVER WHEN

James Harden drilled a three-pointer with 1:08 on the clock to give the Rockets an 11-point lead. The shot gave Harden 40 points to complete a triple-double and propelled the Houston Rockets to a 129-122 victory over the Toronto Raptors.

PATTERSON RETURNS, POWELL SLIDES INTO STARTING LINEUP

Patrick Patterson returned to the court after missing the previous four games with a strained knee. Dwane Casey decided to switch up the starting five, moving Norman Powell into the starting lineup alongside DeMarre Carroll, Jonas Valanciunas, DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry. Patterson scored eight points and grabbed seven rebounds in his first game back while Powell had 10 points and three assists as the team was a +15 with him on the floor.

STARTING OFF STRONG

Despite the late flight back from Chicago on Saturday night, the Raptors were ready when the ball went up on Sunday evening. Jumping out to a quick lead, the Raptors finished the first quarter on a 14-4 run to take a 10-point lead. Toronto shot 61 percent over the opening 12 minutes, holding the Rockets to 41 percent shooting. DeMar DeRozan led the Raptors with 13 points.

LETTING UP IN THE SECOND

After leading by as many as 12 in the second quarter, the Raptors let up defensively, giving up a 34-point quarter to the Rockets. In a reverse of the first quarter, Houston closed the half on a 12-2 run to cut into Toronto’s lead and trail by just two at the half. Montrezl Harrell had 11 points off the bench in the quarter, on a perfect 5-for-5 field goals to give Houston a boost.

ROCKETS FINDING THEIR RANGE

Although DeMarre Carroll had a 14-point third quarter, the Raptors were unable to slow a Rockets team that was beginning to heat up from downtown. After Houston made just 2-of-17 attempts from beyond the arc in the first half, they connected on 6-of-13 three-point attempts in the third. James Harden scored 14 in the quarter, including a pull-up three-pointer at the buzzer to bring the Rockets within four going into the fourth.

FADING IN THE FOURTH

The Raptors couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start in the final quarter, giving up a 15-0 run as the Rockets went from four points down to up 11 points ahead. With momentum shifting and Houston already hot from beyond the arc thanks to their hot-shooting third, the Rockets shot 65 percent from the floor in the fourth and Toronto struggled to cut into their deficit. Despite a 14-point quarter from DeRozan, Toronto wouldn’t get any closer than five points the rest of the way through.

RAPTORS PLAYER OF THE GAME

DeMar DeRozan scored a team-high 36 points on 13-for-21 field goals in 39 minutes of play. He was a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line and added six rebounds and five assists.

DeMar did all he could again tonight. He is your @biosteelsports Performer of the Game.

A photo posted by Toronto Raptors (@raptors) on

UNDERRATED RAPTORS PLAYER OF THE GAME

DeMarre Carroll had a fantastic effort in a losing cause, scoring 26 points in 34 minutes on a ridiculous 7-for-12 field goals. Carroll made a career-high six three-pointers in 10 attempts, and was 6-for-6 from the free throw line. He added eight rebounds and a steal.

THAT'S A RAP…

“They put their heads down, attacked our feet. There was a stretch where we played good basketball for 39 minutes, but it is a 48-minute game and we have to extend that. We are going to see different types of defences, switching, double teams, and the way we handle that is going to determine our success.”
- Dwane Casey on the fourth quarter

BY THE #’S

19…Turnovers for the Raptors, leading to 26 points for the Rockets. Houston turned the ball over 15 times leading to 20 points for Toronto.

10…Offensive rebounds for the Rockets, compared with four for Toronto.

66…Points in the paint for Houston, 50 for the Raptors.

22…Fast break points for the Rockets, 10 for Toronto.

28…Points, five rebounds for Montrezl Harrell off the bench on 12-for-13 field goals in 26 minutes of action.

THEY SAID IT…

“We played against two superstars [the last two games] and they beat us. Jimmy did it last night and James did it tonight. We’ve got to make sure how to stop those guys and adjust to the game plan a little bit better. We came out flat for the fourth quarter. That James Harden three to end the third quarter, I think that gave them more energy and more confidence.”
- Kyle Lowry on the previous two games

“It’s not frustrating. If you want to be in a position where you’re a good player in this league you’ve got to be prepared for those moments. You can’t let it frustrate you, you’ve just got to be able to make your teammates better, put them in a good position to be able to make plays to make it easier for us. Make a team pick its poison. That’s something we’re going to continue to get better at and once we get a rhythm, with that we’ll be fine.”
- DeMar DeRozan when asked if it’s frustrating to have to face a second or third defender

“He shot the ball well. I thought he did a good job defensively and shot the ball well, that’s one of the byproducts of trapping Kyle someone else is open, just like Harrell was open for them. DeMarre did a good job of taking advantage of it, we have to do a better job of cleanly getting the ball over there to those guys without turning it over.”
- Dwane Casey on a big night from DeMarre Carroll

UP NEXT:

Up next: The Boston Celtics come to Toronto to take on the Raptors on Tuesday at 7:30 P.M. ET.

Game Highlights: Rockets at Raptors - January 8, 2017

Watch highlights from Sunday's match-up between the Toronto Raptors and Houston Rockets.

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Game Highlights: Rockets at Raptors - January 8, 2017

Watch highlights from Sunday's match-up between the Toronto Raptors and Houston Rockets.
Jan 8, 2017  |  03:30

Raptors Post-Game: Dwane Casey - January 8, 2017

Head coach Dwane Casey addresses the media following Toronto's 129-122 loss against Houston on Sunday night.
Jan 8, 2017  |  03:14

Raptors Post-Game: DeMar DeRozan - January 8, 2017

DeMar DeRozan addresses the media following Toronto's 129-122 loss against Houston on Sunday night.
Jan 8, 2017  |  01:52

Raptors Post-Game: Kyle Lowry - January 8, 2017

Kyle Lowry addresses the media following Toronto's 129-122 loss against Houston on Sunday night.
Jan 8, 2017  |  01:46

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