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Raptors vs. Rockets Game Thread: Make it hard on Harden

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Toronto takes on a superstar at the peak of his powers tonight at the Toyota Centre.

NBA: Houston Rockets at Toronto Raptors Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The Raptors have been a bit lucky when it comes to facing superstars. This past Sunday, they faced a red hot Boston Celtics at the perfect time — right after they had lost Kyrie Irving, their best player, to injury. They also have a game against the Pelicans minus Anthony Davis under their belts. This is a trend that also popped up last season.

Well, no luck tonight. The Raptors will have to deal with early MVP candidate James Harden at the peak of his powers, as his Rockets come in with an 11-3 record and their leader averaging 35.8 points and 11.3 assists over his last six.

The Raptors will be without Norman Powell tonight, which will force them to go a bit more defensive with OG Anunoby (likely) in the starting lineup. That might actually help against this Rockets team, as it’ll take quite a bit of scurrying to keep up with their shooters.

Ultimately, it comes down to how they deal with Harden though. Without Chris Paul, he’s once again the fulcrum of everything Houston does — all eyes will be on his matchup with Kyle Lowry as the Raptors look to finally get a win against one of the NBA’s elite.

Check out Chicco Nacion’s full preview and let’s get to the comments.

Where to watch:

TSN, 8 p.m. EST

Starters:

Toronto - Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, OG Anunoby (likely), Serge Ibaka, Jonas Valanciunas

Houston - James Harden, Eric Gordon, Trevor Ariza, Ryan Anderson, Clint Capela

Injuries:

Toronto - Norman Powell (hip)

Houston - Nene (foot), Chris Paul (knee)