NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Wednesday, April 2nd
(All times Eastern)
Houston Rockets (49-24) at Toronto Raptors (42-32), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Houston Rockets have stumbled a bit recently and
will try to get back on track Wednesday against the Toronto Raptors.
The Rockets are winless in back-to-back games since winning five in a row and
suffered a 105-96 loss at Brooklyn on Tuesday. James Harden scored 26 points
and made 16-of-16 free throws, while Chandler Parsons and Jeremy Lin netted 16
Omer Asik started again in place of Dwight Howard and registered 12 points to
go along with 23 rebounds.
Houston shot 38.1 percent for the game.
"We let them get too comfortable early in the game. They got it going and it
was tough," Harden said.
Howard sat with a left ankle sprain and is expected to miss Wednesday's game.
Forward Terrence Jones is questionable with flu-like symptoms.
The Rockets are 20-16 on the road and fourth in the West -- 1 1/2 games ahead
of the Portland Trail Blazers. After visiting the Raptors, Houston will return
home to play Oklahoma City and Denver.
Toronto is also playoff bound and looks to get back on track after having a
three-game winning streak stopped at Miami on Monday.
Greivis Vasquez led the Raptors with 17 points, DeMar DeRozan had 16 and Jonas
Valanciunas finished with 14 and 10 rebounds. Kyle Lowry scored 11 points and
left the game with a left knee injury. X-rays were negative and he is
questionable versus the Rockets.
The game was tight through the first two quarters, but the Heat scored 20 of
the 34 points in the third quarter to take control. The Heat shot 52 percent
and the Raptors made 50 percent of their attempts.
"We lost it in the third period. We came out too relaxed. We didn't attack the
basket. Everything worked for them," Vasquez said.
Raptors coach Dwane Casey needs one more win for 100 with the team.
Toronto, which went 10-6 in March and has a 14-8 record since the All-Star
break, is currently even with Chicago for the third spot in the East -- 1 1/2
games in front of Brooklyn. The Raptors will also host Indiana and has a 22-14
record at Air Canada Centre.
The Raptors are 1 1/2 games ahead of the Nets for the Atlantic lead.
DeRozan averaged 22.8 points in March and Lowry posted 19.3 ppg last month.
Houston defeated Toronto 110-104 in double overtime back on Nov. 11 in Space
City. Lin had 31 points off the bench, Harden scored 26 points and Howard
tallied 18 and 24 rebounds. DeRozan scored 22 points in that one for the
Raptors, who have won six in a row and nine of 10 at home in this series.
04/02 10:25:43 ET