The Toronto Raptors and Houston Rockets will meet for the first time this season. Toronto is coming off an impressive trouncing of the Atlanta Hawks while the Rockets are trying to avoid losing their third straight game. In a battle of elite shooting guards, James Harden and DeMar DeRozan will likely put on a show tonight. Toronto is playing their second game of a back-to-back however no player played more than 30 minutes in last night’s contest, so for the most part they should be fresh. The Raptors have dropped seven straight games in Houston and will look to change their fortunes in the Toyota Center.
Cages Keys to the Game:
Attack the rim
Once again Toronto goes up against a team with limited rim protection. With the absence of Dwight Howard, the Raptors shouldn’t have a problem getting into the paint for high percentage buckets. Jonas Valanciunas will have a distinct height and length advantage over former Raptor Joey Dorsey at the 5-spot. Good things happen when Toronto attacks the painted area, lets hope they don’t forget that.
Mama stop that man
James Harden is an MVP candidate and the NBA’s leading scorer at 27.4 points per game. A crafty scorer with unlimited confidence and a knack for getting to the rim, Harden is the man to watch night in and night out for the Rockets. James Johnson will have have his hands full trying to check the great bearded one.
Slow The Game Down
Houston is one of the most up-tempo teams offensively, while the Raptors seem to favour the half-court game. Force Houston to play a slower game, which will play an advantage for the Raptors on the road. Prevent Houston’s fast-break points, easy baskets, and defensive breakdowns; keep their crowd out of the game.
X-Factor: Terrence Ross
Tonight’s X-factor is Raptors swingman, Terrence Ross. After an atrocious shooting performance against the Hawks last night, look for Ross to come out firing. He should also be tasked with guarding Harden throughout the game if Johnson has to be switched up to guard Josh Smith. T-Ross, go on and make us proud