For the second straight game, a surprising name led the Raps in scoring. On his way to 24 points, Alan Anderson buried 3-balls, made all 9 of his free throws, & provided the clinching and-1 bucket as the Raps held off the Rockets.
The Man of the Match, as they say over ‘ome, was the evergreen Jose Calderon. We’re getting used to him piling up double-doubles, but to add 10 rebounds to his 18 points & 14 assists elevated him to a triple-double, the second of his career. Jeremy Lin was expected to be a handful for the defensively challenged elder statesman of Toronto, but Calderon smothered his opposite number at Point Guard. Lin managed a paltry 7 points & 2 assists.
Q1 started out all Raps, & finished all Rox. Houston threw the ball away several times, & didn’t hit the scoreboard for 4+ minutes, while the Raps went up 12 on Jonas Valanciunas’ foul line jumper. The Raps couldn’t manage a bucket for the last 3 minutes, & the Rox starting hitting 3s to end leading by 2.
In Q2 the fans enjoyed a Raptors 12-0 run, keyed by a pair of 3s from John Lucas (finally!) & more Rox turnovers. However, in a replay of Q1, the Raps offense dried up late, & Houston pulled back to a half-time tie.
Ed Davis emerged from the shadows in Q3, & was the open & grateful beneficiary of some superb Calderon passes. He pounded them through, & added a couple of jumpers to score all 13 of his points. James Harden, however, couldn’t be stopped on his drives to the basket. He was constantly being fouled, & made the Raps pay, going 14/15 from the stripe. Harden’s 28 led all scorers.
The Raps were leading by 6 going into Q4, which turned out to be one of the most exciting 12 minutes we’ve seen in some time. Anderson stroked 2 of his 3 3-balls, & got to the stripe. He scored 15 of the Raps’ 26 Q4 points. Terrence Ross missed 2 FTs which could had salted away the game, & the Rox kept pushing, turning a 9-point deficit into 2 with 17 seconds to play. Carlos Delfino dove to foul, barely, Anderson, who was trying to dribble out the game. Alan hit the FTs, & later scored a reverse layup while being tackled by Toney Douglas. Cue the happy music.
Apart from emergency starter Marcus Morris [a player to keep an eye on], Harden was the only Rocket who impressed. Omer Asik collected 13 rebounds, but appeared to be fatigued early. He launched an air ball from the stripe, causing no end of cat calls from the Raps’ faithful, who continue to turn out in meaningful numbers.
The Raps visit Cleveland on Tuesday.
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.