Game Preview: Raptors vs Rockets

Holly MacKenzie - Raptors.com

Houston Rockets (38-25) @ Toronto Raptors (46-18) 

When: Tuesday, March 5th, 8 P.M. ET

Where: Scotiabank Arena

Leading into tonight’s game:

- Injury report: For the Raptors, Fred VanVleet (left thumb ligament) is out. For the Rockets, Kenneth Faried (left hip contusion), and Iman Shumpert (sore right calf) are listed as questionable.

- Bounce back: The Raptors are looking to bounce back after Sunday’s 112-107 overtime road loss to the Detroit Pistons. Including Tuesday’s game against the Rockets, the Raptors have just three games remaining on the schedule against teams that currently have a winning record, the fewest of any NBA team. After Tuesday’s game, the team will head on the road for its final three-game road trip of the season, with stops in New Orleans, Miami and Cleveland.

- Recent history: This is the final regular-season meeting between the Raptors and Rockets this season. Toronto dropped a 121-119 decision in Houston on Jan. 25, despite a 32-point performance from Kawhi Leonard who missed what would have been a game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer. James Harden had 35 points for the Rockets who never trailed in the game. Houston comes to Toronto following a 115-104 victory in Boston against the Celtics that extended their winning streak to five straight games.

Extra Assists

- Season-high: Kyle Lowry scored a season-high 35 points in Detroit. He was 11-for-24 from the floor and 4-for-14 from beyond the arc, adding seven rebounds, five assists and a steal. This was Lowry’s 30th time that he has scored at least 30 points in a Raptors uniform. He is fourth in franchise history in 30-point games, behind DeMar DeRozan (96), Vince Carter (91), and Chris Bosh (60), and he is also tied with Jose Calderon (91) for most point/assist double-doubles in franchise history.

- Points on deck: The Raptors will have their hands full trying to slow Houston’s James Harden on Tuesday. Harden, the league’s reigning MVP, is the league-leader in scoring, averaging 36.7 points per game. He isn’t just scoring though. Harden is also averaging 6.6 rebounds, 7.6 assists and 2.15 steals in 37.5 minutes per game. He’s shooting 44 percent from the floor and 36 percent from beyond the arc. He is coming off a 42-point performance against the Celtics just one game after scoring 58 points against the Miami Heat and he has topped the 40-point mark a league-high 24 times this season.

- Game changer: Through 64 games played, only four players in the NBA have a higher +/- rating than Raptors guard Danny Green. Averaging 9.8 points in 28.4 minutes per game, Green is a +452 on the season thus far, finishing with a positive rating in 48 games. He is shooting a team-best 43 percent from beyond the arc, which also ranks him eighth in the NBA. Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Brook Lopez and Paul George are the only players in the league to post a higher total +/- than Green.

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