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Quick Reaction

Quick Reaction: Rockets 129, Raptors 134

HOU Rockets 129 Final
Box Score
134 TOR Raptors

A+
P. Siakam27 MIN, 24 PTS, 11 REB, 4 AST, 1 STL, 7-16 FG, 2-6 3FG, 8-8 FT, 1 BLK, 5 TO, -2 +/-

Was the second best player on the floor by a large margin. Looked more confident pulling from above-the-break, wreaked havoc anytime he operated as the initiator, and passed well when the Rockets shaded him off the baseline. He was also dangerous when he was lurking on defense. He’s going to make his first All-Star team this year. Bet on it.

B
O. Anunoby21 MIN, 7 PTS, 3 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 3-5 FG, 1-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 3 TO, -9 +/-

Still dribbles like he’s trying to pick something up off the ground. He attacked DHO’s and pin-downs with far more vigor than we’re used to. His body rumbling towards the rim is generally a good thing, he just has to work on the finesse a bit. Skied for some boards, and hit a pretty smooth corner triple. All the building blocks are still there.

A+
S. Ibaka22 MIN, 18 PTS, 5 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 8-10 FG, 1-1 3FG, 1-2 FT, 1 BLK, 3 TO, -10 +/-

All business. Found the soft spots in the Houston defense and capitalized in a familiar fashion. Mid-range jumpers, right hand hooks, and offensive boards. He definitely has his game figured out going into the season.

A
F. VanVleet28 MIN, 16 PTS, 5 REB, 5 AST, 3 STL, 5-10 FG, 2-6 3FG, 4-4 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, -1 +/-

Really sharp game. Fred’s potency usually depends on his shot-making alone, but he did a good job stirring up and probing the Rockets defense. Hit Ibaka with a pocket pass, scored well against switching bigs. Nice game.

C+
N. Powell17 MIN, 14 PTS, 2 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 5-9 FG, 2-3 3FG, 2-2 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -4 +/-

Mixed bag. Still seeing the one-speed drives that end up with him stripped or blocked too often, but he’s sustained his 3-point stroke for some time now (which is big) and he provides punch for the offense in spurts.

D-
P. McCaw21 MIN, 0 PTS, 2 REB, 4 AST, 2 STL, 0-0 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -9 +/-

His presence still gums up the Raptors offense like no one else and the fundamental value he brings to the team hasn’t changed a smidge. He’s a defensive clamp in short spurts, and he’s got a good noise for duck-ins on offense.

B
T. Davis19 MIN, 8 PTS, 5 REB, 5 AST, 3 STL, 3-11 FG, 0-5 3FG, 2-2 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, 10 +/-

With Lowry’s presence missing from the lineup, Davis was pushed toward a creator position for the bench unit (as I mentioned in the preview) in the first half, which isn’t his ideal role. With that being said, he did an amicable job creating looks. He flashed his potential in the second half, as he got to show off some of his motion off-ball, put someone on a poster, and got after it on defense.

C+
C. Boucher18 MIN, 12 PTS, 7 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 4-5 FG, 0-0 3FG, 4-5 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, 6 +/-

He had a nice dive to the rim early on and he’s really something in the open floor. He got picked on repeatedly by the Rockets on the defensive end, and that’s where he’ll make-or-break his NBA career. He can really load up a box-score in these fast paced games.

B-
M. Thomas14 MIN, 8 PTS, 3 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 3-7 FG, 2-5 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -1 +/-

He is exactly what we thought he would be. He’s frenetic off-ball and gives the defense plenty to think about. They’ve already worked in a lob play that’s dependent on Thomas’ gravity out to the 3-point line. He’s gonna hit some shots this year.

B
R. Hollis-Jefferson13 MIN, 7 PTS, 5 REB, 3 AST, 2 STL, 2-4 FG, 0-1 3FG, 3-4 FT, 0 BLK, 3 TO, 3 +/-

Harden did him really dirty with that nut-meg. Like Johnson, he’s going to struggle in offensive sets sans Marc Gasol and Kyle Lowry. Long on defense, and flashed some passing chops. Had a much easier time playing against Houston’s second-stringers.

B+
O. Brissett12 MIN, 6 PTS, 4 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 1-4 FG, 0-1 3FG, 4-6 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 12 +/-

Insatiable motor on this guy, and he’s really rangy on the defensive end. And he got a put-back dunk!

C
C. Payne12 MIN, 4 PTS, 1 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 1-2 FG, 0-0 3FG, 2-2 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 12 +/-

A typical end-of-bench guard game. Kept the ball moving on offense, played punchy defense and tried to keep mistakes out of it.

B+
M. Miller10 MIN, 9 PTS, 0 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 3-4 FG, 2-3 3FG, 1-1 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 9 +/-

Came in and hit his shots and attacked close-outs, which I think he can do at the NBA level. He can guard the wing and bang in triples, and he did that tonight in limited minutes.

D-
S. Johnson7 MIN, 1 PTS, 1 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 0-2 FG, 0-0 3FG, 1-2 FT, 0 BLK, 3 TO, 9 +/-

Didn’t get a shot in the game until the second half and was really quiet in his stint. A little bit sloppy, but it’s tough to come in cold like that.

A-
Nick Nurse

Was happy to see there’s already a couple wrinkles in the offense for Siakam’s new role. There was a clear gameplan for VanVleet in this one, and he gave tons of run to the Raptors depth players, and that’s what these games are about.

Things We Saw

  1. James Harden’s offensive toolkit is a lot to deal with, let alone in the first game of the season. I’ve never seen a player negotiate the downhill part of the pick n’ roll better than him, he keeps the defense on it’s toes at all times. He’s going to make a very strong push for his second MVP this year. So much fun to watch.
  2. If Harden was the draw for fans in this game, Siakam might be the thing that swept them away. Though not to the level of Harden, Siakam’s game was all-encompassing in this one. He got his own looks with relative ease, and transitioned into the offense’s alpha-dog without a hiccup.
  3. The youngsters fighting for spots at the end of the game really got after it on defense. After the Rockets and Harden erupted in the first half, the ragtag crew came in with long limbs to disrupt the flow in the second half and steal the game on the back of their defense. I’m not sure what it says about that group going forward, but it’s something that they can already string together that stingy of a defensive performance.
  4. Westbrook is obviously still finding his way in the Rockets half-court offense, but the injection he gives the Rockets in transition adds a really intriguing element to the team. He can also break a defense in half with two steps and a pass like few other players. The Rockets are going to be a great team to watch this year.
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