Raptors End Year With Loss To Rockets
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December 31, 2010
HOUSTON, TX (CP) -- Chase Budinger hopes he's finally put his shooting woes behind him.
The Houston rookie reserve guard scored a season-high 22 points on 8-for-10 shooting from the field to lead the Rockets in a 114-105 win over the Toronto Raptors on Friday night.
Budinger shot 36 percent in first 20 games as he recovered slowly from a sprained left ankle. He pored over game film, worked on his balance and has gone 12 for 18 in his last two games.
"I went through this already, where I had a couple of good games in a row, but then missed some shots," Budinger said. "But I just feel good right now. It feels good shooting the ball. My confidence has been up, and let's hope the slump is over."
Kevin Martin added 20 and rookie Patrick Patterson set career highs in points (15) and rebounds (10) for the Rockets, who've won eight of their last 10.
DeMar DeRozan scored 29 of his career-high 37 points in the second half and Jose Calderon had 11 assists for the Raptors, who've dropped 10 of their last 13 games.
"I wanted to play aggressively," said DeRozan, who went 13 for 14 from the free-throw line. "They needed me to step up and force them to foul me. I was able to finish and draw the contact."
Linas Kleiza had 17 points and 12 rebounds and Amir Johnson added 14 points and 11 rebounds for Toronto, which finished with a 53-47 rebounding edge.
Houston's Jordan Hill scored eight points and grabbed four rebounds in place of Chuck Hayes, who's out two to four weeks after spraining his ankle in practice on Thursday. Backup center Brad Miller scored 11 points with seven rebounds and six assists.
But the 6-foot-9 Patterson benefited most by Hayes' absence, playing more than 25 minutes. He had appeared in only three games before Friday.
"I hate to step on the court because a teammate goes down, said Patterson, the Rockets' first-round pick last summer. "I saw it as an opportunity and I tried to seize the moment."
Miller sneaked up and splattered a towel-full of shaving cream on Patterson's face as he was swarmed by reporters for the first time this season.
"That means you made it, man," forward Shane Battier said. "Congratulations."
Budinger hit a jumper from the wing then flipped a pass to Patterson for a layup in the last minute of the third quarter to stretch Houston's lead to 84-75.
DeRozan scored 13 points in the third, the only Raptors player with more than two. Toronto has been ravaged by injuries this season and had only eight healthy players by the end of the game.
"With only eight healthy bodies, we needed more guys to play better," coach Jay Triano said.
Aaron Brooks and Courtney Lee drove for consecutive layups and Budinger made a 3 from the corner to extend the lead to 97-82.
DeRozan scored 16 points in the fourth quarter, but the Rockets carried their comfortable lead to the end, topping 110 points for the fourth time in their last six home games.
Trailing 34-20 after the first quarter, the Rockets' reserves cut the deficit to one over the first six minutes of the second quarter. Lee sank Houston's first 3, Miller scored inside and Budinger sprinted for a breakaway dunk to finish the 20-7 spurt.
The Rockets' bench outscored Toronto's reserves 65-23.
"That's kind of our goal as the second unit, to come in and bring energy," Budinger said. "We did a great job tonight, coming in and bringing the energy."
Houston shot 64 percent in the second quarter (18 of 28) and led 62-55 at the break. Martin and Luis Scola scored seven points apiece in the third quarter to keep the Rockets in front.
Julian Wright's dunk punctuated a 12-0 run in the first quarter that gave Toronto a 29-16 lead. Martin scored 11 points during that span, drawing fouls with drives down the lane and going 7 for 8 from the free-throw line.
Kleiza made a deep 3-pointer just before the first-quarter buzzer to put Toronto up 14. The Raptors shot 54 percent (14 of 26) and outrebounded Houston 18-8 in the first.
Game Notes: The Rockets went 11-4 in December ... Houston has reached 60 points in a half 15 times this season. ... Martin has scored at least 20 points in eight straight games. ... Calderon hit a 3-pointer with 5:57 left in the first quarter to extend Toronto's streak of games with a 3 to 974. ... Toronto G Jerryd Bayless played eight minutes in the first half, then limped to the locker room and did not return after re-aggravating a left ankle sprain.