The Raptors, who lost 3 games in agonizing fashion last week, have a date with the Rockets. Houston’s organization is the polar opposite of their stable, successful cross-state rivals in San Antonio. The Rockets’ roster has been built, blown up and rebuilt numerous times over the past few seasons, & the current edition only came together very recently. To their credit, they have compiled a 6-7 record, although their wins have been mostly against weak squads like Detroit (twice). Jeremy Lin wanted to remain a Knick, but New York management concluded Lin-sanity was so last year; he landed in Houston over the summer as the starting Point Guard. Their Shooting Guard, James Harden, was traded by Oklahoma City a month ago, when the Thunder’s GM decided Harden’s salary demands were exorbitant. The Rockets had cap space & players to swap, & a shocked Harden was gone. The owner of the NBA’s best beard hasn’t missed a beat on the court – he leads Rocket scoring with 25+ PPG. Centre Omer Asik signed a free-agent offer & has been full value so far; the giant Turk has averaged a double-double. Chandler Parsons, their not-so-Small Forward, has been another pleasant surprise. Hands up, anyone who thought this guy would be averaging 15+ PPG in his second season – right, that would be zero. Patrick Patterson, their Power Forward, is another overachiever, with 12+ so far.
It is jarring to peruse the Rockets’ roster & see that the player with the most NBA experience is ex-Rap disappointment Carlos Delfino. He has 7 seasons under his belt, fellow second-uniter Daequan Cook has 5, & everyone else has 3 or fewer. That means the Rockets have received great coaching from Kevin McHale, but he probably doesn’t care about his ball team very much at the moment. McHale’s daughter died on the weekend at the age of 23; one cannot imagine the suffering of he & his family.
Houston is not a deep team, & gives up a lot of points. Asik is the key; if the Raps can get him in foul trouble early, they should be able to attack the basket with impunity.
The Raps need a win, desperately, but they will be in tough here. I’ll take our guys to finally pull out a close one, 99-97. Bargnani & Calderon can’t both have wretched shooting nights again – can they?
Brian Boake is a staff writer for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.