A live account of the game between the Toronto Raptors and Houston Rockets

6:48 PM: Kyle Lowry wants to kill the Rockets tonight.  I think he will.  By the way, I just saw a recognizable media personality a while back on the television seriously pushing forth the assertion that the Rockets somehow chose Jeremy Lin over Kyle Lowry (and that the results from each player thus far were proving the folly of their decision.)  Do people not realize that there would be no James Harden without the Kyle Lowry trade?  Lowry-Lin isn’t even a subject of contention.  Goran Dragic is the guy whom the Rockets chose to let go to sign Jeremy Lin.  But there is absolutely no hole in their thinking on the Lowry trade.  This shouldn’t even be a topic for debate.  Up to this point, I didn’t even realize it was.

7:13 PM: As DeRozan hits the open jumper, I remember that he’s actually making, or slated to be making, $10million/year.  I still can’t get over this.  That’s your definition of a cap killer.

7:14 PM: As Bargnani scores on the reverse layin, I pray to myself that Motiejunas is somehow put into this game to face him, if even for a minute.  For us.  Just to see.  Please?  Just for fun?

7:15 PM: Bargnani pump fakes Patterson out on the 3 point line, draws him off his feet and draws the foul.  This is what the Rockets hope Motiejunas will bring to their team when his time comes.

7:17 PM: Jeremy Lin nails a ‘3’.  Pigs are spotted in orbit.

7:18 PM: Jeremy Lin nails another jumper.

7:24 PM: The Rockets can reach .500 tonight with a win…which, if you think about it, is pretty damn incredible considering the circumstances.  Their best player wasn’t there for a second of camp, they lost their head coach, and they have two new point guards, and overall four new starters.  Just remarkable.  I know it won’t be considered a big deal but this young team is right on track in its development.

7:28 PM: Marcus Morris cleans up on the glass to give him 8 points for the game.  As I type this, he drills a corner ‘3’ to give him 11 for the game.  If you predicted he’d be the biggest bright spot on the season, you’re lying.  The Marcus Morris reclamation project is about the only thing that gives hope to the curious Royce White situation.

7:34 PM: Greg Smith was 1/4 from the field in his three minutes of play.  Greg Smith has consistently been big inside, every game in which I’ve seen him play this year.  What I mean by that is that he’s always a presence inside, getting point blank at the rim, clearing space with his mass.  But he misses easy shots because his skill level is rather low.  He could really be a force if he improved upon his touch.  Because the size is there, which is rare for his age.

7:40 PM: Patterson gets Amir Johnson in the air with one of the ugliest post moves I’ve seen (since Pat’s last trip to the block) and earns himself two free throws.  The numbers will probably show that the vast majority of the Rockets’ postup attempts this year are coming from Patterson.  That probably makes sense now as they have nothing else, but that’s the one biggest area with need for change for this team to get to the next level.  Patterson in the post won’t cut it in a playoff series.

7:44 PM: Kyle Lowry still with only two points so far, but he does have three assists.  We are at the 8:37 mark of the second quarter already.  Calderon is in at the minute.  I was expecting a 30-10 from Lowry tonight so he has his work cut out in front of him to reach anywhere near that clip.

7:47 PM: Valanciunas just made a gorgeous fallaway post-move on Asik and then got backed down by the Turk at the other end.  This is the same problem facing Motiejunas.  He can probably score at this level, but will need time before he can defend.

7:53 PM: Bargnani this time turns and faces his man with a gorgeous turnaround.  I don’t get to watch the Raptors much (did I just write that?), but I guess the hope is to pair Bargnani with Valanciunas in the paint for the long haul.  I’m not sure how that would ever work defensively, but that’s probably the most skilled foreign big man tandem…ever?  Though Scola-Yao was pretty impressive during their time.

8:02 PM: It’s halftime.  Andrea Bargnani leads all scorers with 19, going 7/9 from the floor including three triples.  Jeremy Lin has 9 points on 4/5 shooting from the floor to go along with 4 assists.  Kyle Lowry has 2 points on 1/4 shooting, along with 3 assists.

A few thoughts on the above – First, on Bargnani.  I know he’s highly criticized.  I don’t watch him much obviously.  But Rudy T. would have soiled himself over this guy.  God bless.  He’s been taking Rockets big men out to the perimeter and dropping triples and then going inside and working them over with his soft touch.  If Motiejunas can become even 75% of Bargnani, the Rockets will be thrilled.  The defense is another issue though, but fortunately, Asik covers up for a lot of that.

Secondly, Lowry/Lin – I’m shocked so far given by prediction to start this one out.  One thing I’ve noticed though is that , while his numbers overall this year are stellar, Lowry doesn’t handle the ball nearly as much with Toronto as he had here in Houston.  I’m not sure I’ve seen even a single pick and roll set from the Raptors so far tonight….while that is all we do here.  As for Lin, he’s looked much more comfortable with the jumper.

8:28 PM: Kyle Lowry just made back to back hoops.  Looking much more aggressive.  The Rockets have broken this game open though, leading by 19.  Lowry now checks out for Calderon.  5:59 left in the 3rd.  Lowry with 7 on the night.

8:31 PM: Jeremy Lin drives in and dribbles the ball off of his knee out of bounds.  This is about the second time I’ve noticed something of that sort this quarter.  Lin in general just has a lot of trouble handling the ball once he’s gotten inside the lane.  You often see him also jumping to pass, which has been a big problem leading to many turnovers.

*DeRozan scores on a spinning post-drive, going right at Chandler Parsons.  DeRozan has 12 on the night and has scored with some very impressive moves around the hoop in isolation.  I still think he’s horrifically overpaid and killing that team’s cap situation.  But I will have to admit, I’m impressed so far by his skill level on some of these moves.

8:36 PM: One move Jeremy Lin uses a lot is, off the catch on the perimeter, a jab step to his right, freeing him for the left handed drive.

8:37 PM: It’s amazing just how bad the Raptors are.

8:38 PM: I don’t know how I missed this, but Patrick Patterson has 22 points tonight and 15 here in the 3rd quarter.  It seems like ever since I started writing about replacing him in the lineup, he’s been going berserk offensively.  Still, would be nice to see some better rebounding.

8:41 PM: I don’t know why I just thought of this, but have we seen a fight yet this year in a Rockets game?

8:43 PM: Toney Douglas just hit the far side of the backboard on a ‘3’.  God bless.

8:53 PM: Parsons brings the ball upcourt, gets trapped, picks up his dribble and is then forced to call timeout.  He then glares at his teammates.  Ball handling is one area which will keep Chandler from being an All-Star.  While he is capable bringing it up and scoring off screens, he isn’t good enough to break traps and score on his own against pressure.  As I type this, he drills a 3 pointer in his defender’s face giving him 14 points on the night.

8:55 PM: The Raptors tried to mount a comeback, cutting the Houston lead down to 15, but with 7:30 remaining, and the lead back up to 20, it appears that Kyle Lowry’s night is done.  He has 7 points on 3/7 shooting.  As I type this, Jose Calderon just dribbled the ball off of his own leg in the backcourt, unguarded, and had to scramble to recover it.

8:58 PM: Kyle Lowry now back in.  The Rockets immediately feed Parsons in the post with Lowry behind him.  Parsons is unable to convert, losing the ball as he goes up.  A few plays earlier, he scored on a semi-fastbreak layup, driving into 3 defenders, something he’s been doing much more of this season.


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About the author: Rahat Huq is a lawyer in real life and the founder and editor-in-chief of Red94.net.

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