Quick Reaction: Rockets 111, Raptors 122

12 mins read
HOU Rockets 111 Final
Box Score
122 TOR Raptors

B
C. Boucher27 MIN, 7 PTS, 8 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 2-8 FG, 0-4 3FG, 3-4 FT, 3 BLK, 0 TO, 3 +/-Monsieur Boucher was technically the largest gentleman on the court for the 27 minutes he played tonight, but you only felt that presence on one side of the floor. On D, he did his thang blocking shots, making the lives of Houston guards’ maneuvering in the paint miserable, and holding his own on switches. On O, he didn’t really seem to exist. It was only the fifth time this season that Boucher didn’t hit a three, which is fine, but it never felt like his height threatened Houston. Though, he did grab three offensive boards and wisely advised Coach Scariolo to review his foul on Oladipo.

A+
K. Lowry33 MIN, 20 PTS, 11 REB, 10 AST, 1 STL, 6-9 FG, 4-5 3FG, 4-4 FT, 1 BLK, 2 TO, 22 +/-This box is truly not large enough for all of the great things I want, nay, NEED, to say about Lowry’s performance tonight. The Raps were really out of sorts in the first quarter shooting 9/26 with little flow. Then came Captain/Coach/Meta-Brain/Pest Kyle Lowry who took complete control of the second quarter. In the first six minutes, he scored or assisted on at least 18 of their 21 points. Even when alone with the bench, Kyle kept them rolling. He never relinquished control of the game after that. He did all the Kyle-stuff too. He had a charge, a couple of deflections, and took some time to battle WWE SuperStar, David Nwaba, in several micro-altercations. Come the fourth quarter, when Houston finally woke from their two-quarter nap, Kyle kept Toronto calm and collected orchestrating their D and getting the ball in the hands of the right people heaving outlets, zipping skip-passes, and making the extra pass. It was a C-L-A-S-S-I-C Lowry game.

A+
N. Powell32 MIN, 30 PTS, 3 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 10-15 FG, 4-8 3FG, 6-6 FT, 1 BLK, 3 TO, 15 +/-Powell continues to score like a cool cat sauntering down the fence of an alleyway. His game has such a sweet cadence. Even his dunks can be jazzy smooth. He had an incredibly efficient night, getting to the rim in stride, making the right decisions instead of forcing things, and blazing from three. It was also another night where he avoided making any of those silly “What-was-that-Norm!?” plays. He was the scoring lift the Raptors needed with Pascal Siakam on the sidelines.

B-
F. VanVleet38 MIN, 25 PTS, 4 REB, 4 AST, 3 STL, 6-23 FG, 5-11 3FG, 8-8 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, 4 +/-Freddy had a tough one. Yes, he was a major part of the Raptors’ victory. But for large stretches of the game he seemed frustrated and bothered by all those long Rockets’ arms. More than once he got to the paint and lost the ball or got stuffed or did something desperate. Desperate is so unattractive. If it weren’t for getting to the line 8 times, that would have been a very ugly one for FVV. That said, he brought it on the defensive end. And, for that, I love him forever and for always. Oladipo and Wall are tough tasks; they both ended with a meh 9/21.

B-
OG. Anunoby27 MIN, 11 PTS, 3 REB, 5 AST, 0 STL, 5-8 FG, 1-3 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 3 TO, 12 +/-I was very disappointed with OG tonight. Not for how he played, because he played as OG always plays: strong, tempered, and selective. You can’t fault a guy for that. But this was a chance for him to really fill in for Pascal. FVV and Kyle were going to be busy with the Rockets guards; OG had free rein to go to work. He scored two buckets early and it looked like, “Okay, here we go. OG time.”, but then he picked up two personal fouls early and lost his mojo. But, again, I can’t be mad. He, like Freddy, is so vital to the Raptors defensive scheme that in any bad offensive night he makes it up in spades on defence.

B+
D. Bembry23 MIN, 13 PTS, 4 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 4-6 FG, 0-1 3FG, 5-5 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, -3 +/-Bembry is like that plant you have out back and every time you go and check on it, you’re like “Woah! Did that grow.” His game is flourishing alongside the Raptor core. He moves so well off the ball and is a great complement to how Kyle and Fred like to play the game on both ends of the court.

B
Y. Watanabe17 MIN, 4 PTS, 4 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 2-6 FG, 0-3 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -5 +/-I genuinely am shocked to see that Yuta was on the court for 17 minutes tonight. He had one wicked Euro step for a lay-up, but other than that, I am having trouble recalling Yuta minutes. Sorry, Yuta.

B-
T. Davis16 MIN, 3 PTS, 3 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 1-5 FG, 1-4 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, 2 +/-TD had an absolutely monstrous block! Nothing too distinguishable for Terrence otherwise. It was another night where I felt like he could have done so much more, but just didn’t.

B-
A. Baynes15 MIN, 9 PTS, 6 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 4-8 FG, 1-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, 5 +/-Baynes always seems to get the award for ugliest looking play of the game. He blew a layup early, and then had this weird personal vendetta against PJ Tucker where he tried to take him one-on-one at the top of the key and then ballet-shot-putted the ball towards the hoop. Needless to say, it did not end well. Baynes played fine considering, but I was always left disappointed that he wasn’t smashing Rockets more down low.

B
P. McCaw4 MIN, 0 PTS, 1 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 0-0 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 2 +/-I do love Pat’s willingness to move the ball around. Perhaps, he does it a bit too much, but in one play he passed up a shot, drove, and kicked to a wide open OG who missed the three, Pat got the offensive rebound and immediately whipped it back cross court to Norm who drove in for the dunk. I want Pat to succeed and stay on the floor for longer because I think he has a really unique style of play.

B
S. Johnson2 MIN, 0 PTS, 1 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 0-1 FG, 0-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 1 +/-Can’t give too strong a letter grade on two minutes of play, but he did have two nice defensive stands at the top of the zone. I have admitted before that I have been on Stanley Johnson Island for a long time now. And there is where I will stay.

P. Siakam0 MIN, 0 PTS, 0 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 0-0 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 0 +/-Late scratch due to COVID health and safety protocols.

A
Nick Nurse No Nick tonight. He and five other coaching staff were held out of the game due to COVID health and safety protocols. I mean how can I criticize a guy who had, what, an hour to prepare for his first head coaching gig? Sergio Scariolo, fresh out of quarantine himself, stepped up in Nurse’s stead and, rightfully, earned his first win as an NBA head coach (even though, technically, I think it goes to Nick). The Raptors started off a little shaky, and that’s forgivable considering the circumstances, but by halftime, the game was well-in-hand. Sergio platooned FVV with the bench and did the same with Kyle. It had mixed results, but I always love when a coach puts his faith in his bench and sends them out there wholesale. Why not? Especially, in the middle of February facing a weaker team like Houston. The Raps bent a bit in the fourth, but they did not break, and that’s all that matters. Oh, and he nailed his first coach’s challenge ever! Yay, Sergio.

THINGS WE SAW

  1. That game just felt flat. Houston looked like a student in a microeconomics lecture who sleeps through the whole thing until they hear “this will be on the exam” and perks up for the next ten minutes. When Houston did perk up, Toronto had trouble keeping Wall and Oladipo out of the paint. They didn’t finish a lot of their takes, but it was concerning to see the ease in which they were getting to the hole.
  2. I am worried about the Raptors’ depth. DeAndre’ is winning me over, but that old adage of “who are your seven guys come playoff time” leaves me wondering if he makes the cut. TD certainly doesn’t. Nor Yuta. I don’t know what to think of Baynes these days. I am not saying find me the panic button or anything of that magnitude. All I am saying, is the Raptors lean a lot on FVV, Siakam, Lowry, and, so far, Normy. If one of those guys sputters – or is out like Siakam was tonight- there aren’t a lot of options left. Food for thought.

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