NBA Basketball

129
Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Toronto 31 45 27 26 129
Houston 33 31 30 19 113
113
5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 PM MST8:00 PM EST5:00 UAE (+1)02:0020:00 ET7:00 PM CTNaN:� , November 14, 2017
Toyota Center, Houston, Texas  Attendance: 18,055

Rockets press on without Paul, face Raptors next

According to STATS
According to STATS

Toronto Raptors at Houston Rockets

  1. The Raptors lost in Boston on Sunday, 95-94, to drop to 3-4 on the season on the road compared to 4-1 at home. Raptors are scoring 116.4 points per game in Toronto this year compared to just 103.3 in away games.
  2. The Rockets are amidst a six-game winning streak after defeating the Pacers in Indiana, 118-95, on Sunday. Houston's 11-3 record this season is tied for third best in franchise history and the team's best since 2014-15 (11-3).
  3. Toronto and Houston split the season series last year with the road team winning each game. Dating back to 2008-09, these two teams have been neck and neck with the Houston scoring 103.1 points per game on 45 percent from the floor while Toronto has scored 102.2 points on 45.4 percent shooting. Houston has the slight series edge 10-8.
  4. James Harden tied a career high with nine assists in the first quarter of Houston's victory at Indiana on Sunday. He finished the game with 15 assists, his most since getting 17 against the Pelicans on March 24 last season.
  5. Kyle Lowry scored 19 points on 5-for-10 shooting in Sunday's loss in Boston. Lowry has shot over 50 percent in each of his past three games after shooting 37.6 percent over his first nine.
  6. Clint Capela is shooting 69.6 percent from the field this season, leading the NBA. Capela is on pace to break Houston's franchise record for highest field-goal percentage in a single season that he set last year (.643).

HOUSTON -- At some point in the near future, the Houston Rockets will welcome back All-NBA guard Chris Paul, a reality that should inspire a measure of foreboding throughout the rest of the NBA.

The Rockets (11-3), who host the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday night at Toyota Center, have forged an impressive six-game winning streak and the best record in the Western Conference with Paul having logged roughly one half of effective, healthy play.

Paul is inching toward a return from a left knee injury that has sidelined him for four weeks, and while it is absurd to suggest that the Rockets don't need him, they have thrived of late without Paul.

During their winning streak, the Rockets rank first in the league in offensive rating (117.7) and rebound percentage (54.7), second to the Golden State Warriors in net rating (18.1) and fourth in defensive rating (99.6).

They are averaging 120.2 points while making (17.6) and attempting (46) more 3-pointers per game than any team in the league.

Facing the second half of a back-to-back in Indianapolis on Sunday night, the Rockets posted their second consecutive wire-to-wire victory in drubbing the Pacers 118-95, a win described as a "professional victory."

"We've ironed some things out and we've got guys in the right positions," Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni said. "James (Harden) is playing phenomenally, but he always has. And we've got guys now that come in ... and we shut some people down. The defense is really good. It can get better."

Harden, who stood to benefit the most from the addition of Paul, has elevated his level of play during the streak, averaging 35.8 points and 11.5 assists while shooting 44.7 percent on 3s.

"I just try to be aggressive. You be aggressive and good things happen, whether it's for you or whether it's for your teammates," Harden said. "I really don't predetermine anything. I just go into every single game with the mindset of being aggressive."

Unlike the Rockets, the Raptors (7-5) will enter Tuesday relatively rested, with their 95-94 loss in Boston on Sunday representing their lone game during a four-day stretch.

Toronto will log its first back-to-back this week, traveling from Houston to New Orleans to face the Pelicans on Wednesday. Before the loss to the Celtics, the Raptors played four games in nine days.

That forgiving stretch has enabled Raptors coach Dwane Casey to tinker with his rotations, particularly late in games when stakes are highest.

Against Boston, Casey had rookie forward OG Anunoby and second-year guard Fred VanVleet on the floor down the stretch, relying on their individual defense to help stifle the red-hot Celtics at critical junctures in the fourth.

Anunoby, whose top five games in minutes played have all come on the road, continues to parlay his combination of strength, athleticism and versatility into defensive promise. VanVleet is undersized but strong-willed, and he teams with Anunoby to provide a level of tenacity that serves as a significant benefit when Toronto needs its stalwarts to focus on late-game scoring.

"You've seen it already," Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan said. "We're 12 games in and a lot of the young guys have been in a lot of big games, on the road especially. It says a lot, the confidence they have within themselves, the coaching staff has within them."

Updated November 14, 2017

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