On a night when the Toronto Raptors put up 114 shots (is that an all-time team record?), too many rattled around and bounced out. The Houston Rockets, despite mailing in their second half, were able to subdue the visitors. They needed 30 fewer shots, and double overtime, to keep feisty Toronto at bay.
The Raps suffered through a dismal first half, scoring a pitiful 33 points, and were fortunate not to have been blown out of the building. DeMar DeRozan was taking, but not making, a bunch of jumpers, yet he was an pretender compared to Mr. Volume
Misser Shooter himself, Rudy Gay. Our small forward, who seems to specialize in sucking the oxygen out of the Raps offense, ended up with 37 shot attempts, though only 11 makes. While Rudy did extend the game to an additional OT period, hitting a clutch 3-ball with virtually no time on the clock, he had missed his previous 8 shots. He missed 4 of 5 in the second OT.
Jonas Valanciunas enjoyed a double-double of 10 points and 13 boards before fouling out with 3 minutes to play in regulation. Terrence Ross and Kyle Lowry were called for their sixth fouls in OT, and all of those enforced benchings damaged the Raps’ chances. The pain might have been mitigated had Tyler Hansbrough been playing, yet despite his excellent game against Utah, Psycho-T got just over 9 minutes of floor time in a 58-minute game. Dwane Casey’s romance with his small lineup continued unabated, despite the punishment the Raps were taking on the boards from (who else?) Dwight Howard. The Rox giant centre pulled down 24 rebounds, 18 of them off the defensive glass, where Psycho-T might have had an impact. Fortunately for Toronto, Howard’s well-known struggles at the free throw line were on full display, where he made 4 of 12 tries.
Toronto must be given credit for refusing to quit. They forced extra time by outscoring Houston by 5 in Q3 and 9 in Q4, in large part keyed by tight defense. Though they were able to keep the Rox Big Two of Howard and James Harden from inflicting too much damage, Jeremy Lin came off the bench to play nearly 46 minutes and score 29 points.
Putbacks: Aaron Gray played one second….the Raps had only 10 assists against 13 turnovers….DD was 6 of 25 – is he heading into another shooting slump?
The Raps are off to Memphis for a game Wednesday night against the 3-4 Grizzlies.
Brian Boake is Senior Editor 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. Remember, for the best deals on Toronto Raptors tickets for any game on the 2013-14 NBA schedule, visit our friends at TiqIQ.com.