Toronto and Houston match up for a Friday night tilt. Both teams are heading in opposite directions. The Raptors have climbed back from a 2-8 start and currently wedged into the 4-through-10 logjam in the East. The Rockets battled valiantly after the Harden trade, winning 7 of 11, before dropping their last 9 in a row.
To help break down the 4th consecutive matchup between these teams in a 4th different location (2019 preseason in Japan; 2019 regular season in Toronto; 2020 Bubble “pre-season” in Orlando; 2021 regular season in Tampa), we brought in Michael Brown of The Dream Take podcast (part of SB Nation’s Houston Rockets affiliate blog, The Dream Shake).
In This Episode:
2:24 — We have liftoff
Things are not looking so hot in Houston. In the past three months, the Rockets have lost Russell Westbrook, James Harden, and, more recently, any hope for a competitive season. Houston’s recent re-commitment to small ball appears to be a recipe for disaster.
15:50 — Boogie nights in Toronto?
Despite our own hesitations (and that of most of Raptors Twitter), Michael makes a case for former Rocket, and officially waived, DeMarcus Cousins and his fit with the Raptors.
21:25 — The Dream (Raptor’s) Shake
We’d be remiss if we didn’t ask a Houston Rocket fan about his takes on Hall-of-Famer, and one-time Raptor legend, Hakeem Olajuwon.
30:29 — Will Victor (Ola-)dip next Summer?
Correction: Will Oladipo even be Rocket after the trade deadline? If he’s not meant to stay in Houston, where would Oladipo fit and what would the Rockets want in return?
35:54 — Previewing Raptors vs Rockets
For the 9th consecutive season, the Rockets rank in the top-3 in 3-point field goal attempts. The Raptors have followed suit and taking 41.7% of their shots from downtown (franchise-high that’s #4 in the NBA). Can the Raptors (#9 in corner-3 frequency and #8 in corner three accuracy) exploit the Rockets’ weak corner-3 defense (23rd in the NBA)? Will the Rockets (#30 in 3-point accuracy) conjure up similar luck as recent Raptors opponents and drain the open threes that Toronto allows?
50:05 — Jae’Sean Tate and Aron Baynes hate
The Rockets are currently a picture of doom and gloom. There doesn’t appear to be any locker room leadership. Players are unhappy with ownership. The front office has made questionable roster decisions. At the very least, Christian Wood, Jae’Sean Tate, and Kevin Porter Jr. offer rays of hope for Houston’s fan base. The Center position (on either team)? Not so much!