Quick Reaction: Raptors 99, Rockets 96

DeMar DeRozan went nuts, led the Raptors to their first win against an above .500 team since that drubbing of the Hawks in mid-February.

Houston Rockets96FinalRecap | Box Score99Toronto Raptors
Amir Johnson, PF 33 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 16 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 8 PTS | -4 +/-Gotta love the hustle. Had so many johnny-on-the-spot tips to secure extra possessions and a few putbacks. Granted, it came against the Rockets’ depleted frontline that featured one of Harden or Ariza at the power forward spot, but this is the performance that is needed to punish such strategies.

Terrence Ross, SF 23 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 5 PTS | -7 +/-Not great. Racked up a few ticky-tack fouls guarding Harden and never looked into the game. Had a nice spot-up 3 off some weakside action off Jonas. Let’s hope for more of that.

Jonas Valanciunas, C 28 MIN | 5-9 FG | 5-5 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 5 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | +6 +/-Strong performance against the Rockets’ smaller frontline. Got his whenever he wanted in the post and made smart decisions with the ball when double-teams came his way. Best of all, he protected the rim reliably. The Raptors funnelled a lot of action his way and to his credit, he stepped up with five (!!!) impressive blocks.

Greivis Vasquez, PG 34 MIN | 1-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 7 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 3 PTS | 0 +/-Didn’t have any lift in his legs, didn’t have any speed either. Jason Terry and Pablo Prigioni (both over 35) consistently blew by him. That’s just sad.

DeMar DeRozan, SG 41 MIN | 14-27 FG | 12-17 FT | 11 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 6 TO | 42 PTS | +12 +/-He outplayed Harden. Take that in. He outplayed Harden. Granted, DeRozan sunk a smattering of insane turnarounds and whatnot, but any night you play better than the MVP-favorite, you get an A+, regardless of how it happened.

Tyler Hansbrough, PF 7 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | 0 +/-Got shafted by the whistle. Clint Capela was climbing all over his back and Hansbrough was the one getting the foul. Rotated smartly and was solid with his positioning.

James Johnson, PF 19 MIN | 2-6 FG | 2-3 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 6 PTS | +6 +/-A tad jumpy against Harden, but on the whole, he did an excellent job staying with and bodying up Harden. Made a few wild decisions on offense, but very few plays were called for him, so he had to find his within the offense.

Patrick Patterson, PF 28 MIN | 2-4 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 7 PTS | +4 +/-Showed a lot of heart and played with energy. Rotated well and formed a wicked “scramble” frontline with Amir, which is what we’re used to seeing.

Louis Williams, SG 27 MIN | 5-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 13 PTS | -2 +/-He was hot early on and cooled off as the game went along. Had a few possessions where he only looked for the whistle and when that didn’t come, it turned into ill-advised shots. But altogether, he played the point well and steadied a solid group effort from the bench tonight.

Dwane Casey
No real qualms. Managed his rotation well, exploited size advantages wherever possible (mostly through post-ups with Jonas and James Johnson) and relied on DeRozan’s hot hand to carry his team to the finish line. And hey, his scramble defense actually worked!

Three Thing We Saw

  1. I hate to be that guy, but the Rockets really did get the benefit of the whistle. Harden was a big part of that, which is to be expected (one play comes to mind: Vasquez is driving in transition, Harden comes to slow his progress, Vasquez shields the ball with his off arm and Harden flops his way into a foul). But there were a tonne of lose-ball scenarios under the basket that skewed towards the Rockets’ favor. Hey, maybe I’m just a bias homer. But an awful lot of calls went the Rockets’ favor. Granted, DeRozan was gifted with a few questionable calls too.
  2. That Clint Capela kid is terrifying. His wingspan is ridiculous and he surprised the Raptors with three huge dunks in pick-and-roll. He could definitely blossom into a Rudy Gobert-type. Good work by Morey on that one.
  3. It was just a really ugly, hard-fought game. All the free throws and missed shots really slowed the game down. But credit to the team for fighting through some frustrations associated with the refs and battled through. A lot of luck went the Raptors’ way (the Rockets missed 13 free-throws) and the process of how they played wasn’t perfect. But playing without Lowry, this was as good of an outcome as the team could reasonably hope for. At the very least, this should be good for the team’s confidence.

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