For all intents and purposes, the Raptors vs. Rockets game back in January was played by two different teams. Toronto had the core of its lineup available — Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam, Kawhi Leonard — but was operating with a very different bench group, and also didn’t employ Marc Gasol.
The Rockets, meanwhile, leaned heavily on James Harden back then, deep as he was in the throes of his insane scoring binge. But they were without Chris Paul and Clint Capela, the players most responsible for the completion of Houston’s holy trinity. Houston at almost full-strength is now riding a five-game win streak.
In any case, Houston eventually won that game, 121-119, after a weirdly spirited comeback by the Raptors in the final minute (three straight 3s closed an 11-point gap in a hurry). It was indicative of where both teams were in the moment. Harden could single-handedly keep the Rockets afloat; and try as they might, the Raptors didn’t have quite enough firepower to compete — even with Houston clearly fading down the stretch.
Have things changed since then? We know the rosters are different, both squads now relying on different players, injuries and recovery changing the tenor and talent of each team. But again, have things changed? We’ll find out tonight.
We’ve got Joel Stephens coming in hot with the full Raptors-Rockets preview. Below are your updated game details (which are considerable!). Now, let’s watch.
Where to Watch:
TSN and TNT at 8pm EST
Toronto — Kyle Lowry, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Pascal Siakam, Serge Ibaka
Houston — Chris Paul, James Harden, P.J. Tucker, Eric Gordon, Clint Capela
Toronto — Fred VanVleet (thumb) — OUT
Houston — Kenneth Faried (hip) — OUT; Iman Shumpert (calf) — OUT