Feb 6, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Toronto Raptors point guard Jose Calderon (8) against the Washington Wizards during the second half at the Verizon Center. The Wizards defeated the Raptors 111 - 108. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-US PRESSWIRE

Game Preview #34 @ Rockets The Second Half Tip-Off







The Raptors had a rough first half of the season. Don’t expect the start of the second half to get an easier. As they embark on a West Coast swing that starts with the hot Rockets squad that is looking to make the playoffs after a slow start to the season that left fans and bloggers questioning the tactics of statistical mastermind GM Daryl Morey.

Houston lost seven of its first 10 games, but enters the second half tied for fifth place in the Western Conference with the Lakers. That ranking should improve as only Miami, Oklahoma City, Chicago and San Antonio have better winning percentages since Jan. 13.

Houston will look to further establish themselves as playoff contenders during this slate of week opponents to start the second half. Six of its first eight opponents out of the break have losing records.

The Raptors will look to return Andrea Bargnani during this Western Conference swing. His injury status is one of the main factors that despite a promising start to the season, the Raptors find themselves once again counting lottery balls extra early.

However if Bargnani does not return the Raptors might be able to count on a big performance from DeMar DeRozan. DeMar memorably notched his career high of 37 points during last season’s trip to the Toyota Center.

Jose Calderon has been struggling on the road as of late. Nothing only 12 points and 14 assists over a three game span.

The Rockets and Raptors have split their last 10 meetings, with Houston winning the most recent 114-105 at the Toyota Center on Dec. 31, 2010. Its four consecutive home victories in the series have come by an average of 13.7 points.




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