The daily NBA preview takes it to the rim with tips for a huge showdown as the Toronto Raptors and Houston Rockets look to get back to winning ways.
11:30 (AEDT), Fri 6th Dec @ Air Canada Centre
History: Played 47: Rockets 27 V Raptors 20
Last meeting: March 5, 2019: Rockets 107 d Raptors 95 at Air Canada Centre
Final Thoughts: It’s a cross-conference heavyweight duel as the Toronto Raptors host the Houston Rockets – with both sides coming off a loss.
The 15-5 Raptors are third in the East. They put together a seven-game winning streak during the second half of November but went down in overtime to the Heat at home two days ago. It was the Raptors’ first home loss of the season.
Kyle Lowry made a solid return after an 11-game injury layoff, dishing up 12 points, 6 rebounds and 11 assists. Serge Ibaka is two games into his comeback from injury. Meanwhile, forward Pascal Siakam has been the team’s standout, even coming in on the fringes of the MVP discussion.
The 13-7 Rockets sit fifth in the West. They emerged from a three-game slide with back-to-back wins over the Heat and Hawks (with James Harden scoring 60 points), but lost in overtime in San Antonio two days ago.
Harden reeled off 50 points against the Spurs, while Clint Capela topped 20 rebounds for the sixth time this season. But the result left the Rockets with a 5-5 away record.
The Rockets won both encounters with the Raptors last season and have won three of their last four in Toronto.
James Harden scored 35 points in both the 121-119 home victory and the 107-95 result at Air Canada Centre last season.
Both teams are ranked inside the NBA’s top eight offensively, but the Rockets are bottom-half defensively while the Raptors are fifth.
Houston’s record against fellow big guns this season hasn’t been great. Toronto boast the recent scalps of the 76ers and Jazz, and they should only improve as Lowry and Ibaka regain match fitness.
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