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Toronto Raptors 107, Houston Rockets 103 – A basketball game took place

There are a lot of big takeaways from Houston’s four point loss to the Raptors. There’s a lot to learn for a team in need of lessons. There were plays. There were shots. There were fouls and hustle and grit. All of these basketball things happened and all of them were recorded by television cameras. If the Rockets want to beat these Eastern Conference playoff teams they’re going to have to learn from their mistakes. They need to hit more shots and allow fewer rebounds. The four factors? They definitely need to pay attention to those. Yes, this was a big game for the Rockets who now are one step closer to the end. The end of the season and, perhaps, the end of time.

The main thing the Rockets should try to do in order to avoid this again is to have Dwight Howard. They’ve been very good at having Dwight Howard all season, and it’s been a very successful strategy. Suddenly their execution on having Dwight Howard really took a nosedive in the last couple weeks, and the team has struggled because of it. They showed a brief spurt in having Dwight Howard, but that hustle was short-lived, and they’re back to not having him. It’s a major disappointment, and hopefully they’ll figure out how to get back in that having Dwight Howard groove by the playoffs.

The Rockets have also let that lack of effort on having Dwight Howard spread to their starting point guard, spiritual leader and core of the team Patrick Beverley. The Rockets are much better when they successfully have Patrick Beverley, and that element of their game was sorely missing. This lack of grit was contagious between team, as the Rockets also failed to have Terrence Jones for most of the game, the Raptors didn’t even have Amir Johnson except for 3 minutes, and worst of all the Raptors didn’t even have Kyle Lowry at all. The Rockets know from personal experience that having Kyle Lowry is a great boon, and the Raptors were lucky to win the game with that kind of slip-up going on.

Jeremy Lin looked good for the Rockets, helping close a 20 point deficit to 1 point. Then, after Lin played the end of the third and starts of the fourth quarters, they pulled him out. Isaiah Canaan came in instead, and was decent, but the momentum fell off. The Raptors came back and led by as much as nine before the Rockets failed a last-ditch attempt to catch up. Canaan looks solid but is still clearly a rookie out there. He’s like a stockier version of Aaron Brooks but with fewer circus shots.

If Canaan were a sophomore like Terrence Jones or Donatas Motiejunas instead of a rookie, he would probably be better. The Rockets should probably also have Canaan be a sophomore from now on, but traditional wisdom states that few, if any, rookies make that jump until their second year.

Yes, so many lessons were learned and so many playoff implications were implied. James Harden, for example, learned that sometimes he can draw fouls and sometimes he can’t. He should try to make his foul-drawing rate close to 100% for best effect, but I suppose it’s a process. The Raptors needed this win to try to hold onto that precious 3rd seed. The Rockets needed this game to increase their wins number instead of increasing their losses number, which is what happened, and that’s a problem. Having another loss might come back to haunt them in the playoffs, or in the summer, or even earlier, depending on what we mean by haunt. Right now, I think we mean like a ghost. The ghost from losing to the Raptors could be very, very scary.

Lin played aggressively, Harden played decently but got burned on defense, Ömer Aşık grabbed 15 more rebounds, made 3-5 shots, dropped a couple passes and didn’t airball a free throw. DeMar DeRozan went insane and can’t be contested, which is great for him. The Rockets missed half of their free throws in a critical comeback period, which was awful for them. It was a basketball game that was close down the stretch, which was fun for most people, less so for Rockets fans.

A basketball game took place. The Toronto Raptors beat the Houston Rockets. The score was 107 to 103. The playoffs start in 17 days.

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Total comments: 13
  • thejohnnygold says 6 months ago

    For the second straight game Harden had the worst +/-. Last night it was -17. Tonight it was -14. When Harden plays hero ball and doesnt get calls or hit threepointers the Rockets offense sputters and looks horrible.

    Whats with McHale pulling Lin in the fourth? Didnt he see Lin lead the comeback in the prior period?

    I agree with Brent. Lin sat for all of 2 minutes 20 seconds. That's not "getting pulled". For the record, in the 9:40 he played in the 4th he contributed 1 assist and 1 3-pointer (with 8 seconds left). Other than that it was fouls, misses, and turnovers. Not saying anyone did better, but let's keep perspective here.

    I was clear. I replied to uojoe82's post with this one. uojoe82 implied that Lin would have willed us to win if he hadn't been "pulled". I disagree.

    As I said, up until that last shot with 8 seconds left (too little too late) he contributed very little that would be considered positive. Disagree if you like. He had a bad night and outside of that short spurt and a handful of assists he did very little for us. I'm not implying anything--I am saying it outright. If that passes for good play then I must be confused about this game.

  • PhillyCheese says 6 months ago

    If you say so. The foul that stands out to me was the fast break where he ran over DeRozan after dishing to the trailer and was called for the charge. Obviously, we see things differently. I'm not being unfair--I just don't understand bemoaning Lin sitting for 2+ minutes in the 4th while citing the 5 minutes in the third quarter where he actually played well (the only 5 minutes he played well) as some indictment on McHale. Call it what you want, but for the majority of that game Lin was less than helpful to the team.

    This team has grown accustomed to playing with Dwight and watching them try to revert back to their 3-chucking ways without him has been a tad bit unpleasant.

    I agree withyou that complaining about Lin getting a rest is an uninformed position. If you had just explained as such, I would not have a problem. But your post implied Lin was crappy in the 4th which I think he was not.
  • Steven says 6 months ago For not being able to play defense because of his size, I see three forced turnovers during the Rockets run. Constant play is what is needed now.
  • torn_meniscus says 6 months ago

    What's comical is that I continue to post about this.

    Take my words literally--outside of that short stretch in the third quarter Lin was pretty much a non-factor. Kudos to him for being a part of that comeback run. PART. Apparently nobody else gets any credit.

    It was 62-82 with 3:30 left in the 3rd.

    D-Mo scores (assisted by Canaan).

    Canaan forces a turnover. (drew a charge)

    Canaan forces a turnover. (drew a charge again)

    Lin makes a layup

    Garcia knocks down a shot

    Canaan gets a steal which leads to a Lin fast break layup (Casspi assists)

    Lin gets a steal

    Lin makes two free throws

    Casspi knocks down a 3 (Garcia assisted)

    Canaan knocks down a 3

    Lin knocks down a 3

    End of 3rd Q score is 80-90 (Lin scored 9 of the 18 points.)

    4th Q Begins

    Canaan knocks down a 3

    Casspi makes 2 free throws

    Lin blocks a shot by Vasquez

    Garcia makes a layup

    Asik scores (Lin assists) (about 9:00 minute mark now and the score is 90-92)

    Harden forces a turnover (charge)

    Asik forces a turnover (charge)

    Casspi makes 1-2 free throws

    After a few misses (including one by Mr. Lin) Rockets call timeout at 5:20 mark and the score is 92-98...we never recovered from there.

    ----------------------

    Now, why did I bother to type all that out? To make a point. That was a team effort. Those things were just what went into the game log. It doesn't mention screens, block outs, big rebounds, or any defense played. Lots of people contributed.

    Anyone who wants to claim that one player spear-headed this 6:30 minute stretch is just missing the point. I don't find my comment stating outside of this stretch Lin was a no-show to be out of bounds, or "comical". I find it to be pretty much true.

    Lin's stats outside of this stretch: 3-15 for 7 points, 6 assists, 1 rebound, 1 stl, 2 turnovers in 32.5 minutes. The assists are nice....other than that my statement stands.

    I've never implied Lin was responsible for the loss or failure of the Rockets--I said before that everyone contributed to us losing this game one way or the other. Parsons and D-Mo were our best shooters, but they also combined for 7 turnovers. Excluding the nice 3rd Q run, Canaan was 0-6 with 4 rebounds and a steal in 12 minutes. Asik chipped in 3 turnovers. It was a group failure--the same way that run was a group success.

    Miss you too JG. He didn't have the greatest night. Neither did Harden, neither did Parson, neither did anyone else. It was a tough game on the road, with an injury riddled team. But when you said "less then helpful to the team" that's stretching it a little bit dont you think? especially when he had the highest +/- on the team. And hit some key shots. No he wasn't THE reason, never said he was, I'm just saying he was a huge part of it.

  • thejohnnygold says 6 months ago

    What's comical is that I continue to post about this.

    Take my words literally--outside of that short stretch in the third quarter Lin was pretty much a non-factor. Kudos to him for being a part of that comeback run. PART. Apparently nobody else gets any credit.

    It was 62-82 with 3:30 left in the 3rd.

    D-Mo scores (assisted by Canaan).

    Canaan forces a turnover. (drew a charge)

    Canaan forces a turnover. (drew a charge again)

    Lin makes a layup

    Garcia knocks down a shot

    Canaan gets a steal which leads to a Lin fast break layup (Casspi assists)

    Lin gets a steal

    Lin makes two free throws

    Casspi knocks down a 3 (Garcia assisted)

    Canaan knocks down a 3

    Lin knocks down a 3

    End of 3rd Q score is 80-90 (Lin scored 9 of the 18 points.)

    4th Q Begins

    Canaan knocks down a 3

    Casspi makes 2 free throws

    Lin blocks a shot by Vasquez

    Garcia makes a layup

    Asik scores (Lin assists) (about 9:00 minute mark now and the score is 90-92)

    Harden forces a turnover (charge)

    Asik forces a turnover (charge)

    Casspi makes 1-2 free throws

    After a few misses (including one by Mr. Lin) Rockets call timeout at 5:20 mark and the score is 92-98...we never recovered from there.

    ----------------------

    Now, why did I bother to type all that out? To make a point. That was a team effort. Those things were just what went into the game log. It doesn't mention screens, block outs, big rebounds, or any defense played. Lots of people contributed.

    Anyone who wants to claim that one player spear-headed this 6:30 minute stretch is just missing the point. I don't find my comment stating outside of this stretch Lin was a no-show to be out of bounds, or "comical". I find it to be pretty much true.

    Lin's stats outside of this stretch: 3-15 for 7 points, 6 assists, 1 rebound, 1 stl, 2 turnovers in 32.5 minutes. The assists are nice....other than that my statement stands.

    I've never implied Lin was responsible for the loss or failure of the Rockets--I said before that everyone contributed to us losing this game one way or the other. Parsons and D-Mo were our best shooters, but they also combined for 7 turnovers. Excluding the nice 3rd Q run, Canaan was 0-6 with 4 rebounds and a steal in 12 minutes. Asik chipped in 3 turnovers. It was a group failure--the same way that run was a group success.

  • torn_meniscus says 6 months ago

    Call it what you want, but for the majority of that game Lin was less than helpful to the team.

    .


    How's that's even possible? How does that even make sense? Lin was a +15, Harden was a -14, Parsons was a -10. You were down by 20 and when Lin went to bench in the 4th you were only down by 1, got back in the 4th just 2 minutes later and were down by 8.

    Lol that's comical
  • thejohnnygold says 6 months ago

    Cmon, let's at least try o be fair. He had one turnover and one foul in the 4th. The turnover was a bogus charge where Derozan undercuts him after he scores a two. You could argue it could have gone either way but that was not a bad turnover. The foul was with seconds left nd intended to get the ball back. He did have more than one miss.

    If you say so. The foul that stands out to me was the fast break where he ran over DeRozan after dishing to the trailer and was called for the charge. Obviously, we see things differently. I'm not being unfair--I just don't understand bemoaning Lin sitting for 2+ minutes in the 4th while citing the 5 minutes in the third quarter where he actually played well (the only 5 minutes he played well) as some indictment on McHale. Call it what you want, but for the majority of that game Lin was less than helpful to the team.

    This team has grown accustomed to playing with Dwight and watching them try to revert back to their 3-chucking ways without him has been a tad bit unpleasant.

  • PhillyCheese says 6 months ago

    I agree with Brent. Lin sat for all of 2 minutes 20 seconds. That's not "getting pulled". For the record, in the 9:40 he played in the 4th he contributed 1 assist and 1 3-pointer (with 8 seconds left). Other than that it was fouls, misses, and turnovers. Not saying anyone did better, but let's keep perspective here.


    Cmon, let's at least try o be fair. He had one turnover and one foul in the 4th. The turnover was a bogus charge where Derozan undercuts him after he scores a two. You could argue it could have gone either way but that was not a bad turnover. The foul was with seconds left nd intended to get the ball back. He did have more than one miss.
  • thejohnnygold says 6 months ago

    For the second straight game Harden had the worst +/-. Last night it was -17. Tonight it was -14. When Harden plays hero ball and doesnt get calls or hit threepointers the Rockets offense sputters and looks horrible.

    Whats with McHale pulling Lin in the fourth? Didnt he see Lin lead the comeback in the prior period?

    I agree with Brent. Lin sat for all of 2 minutes 20 seconds. That's not "getting pulled". For the record, in the 9:40 he played in the 4th he contributed 1 assist and 1 3-pointer (with 8 seconds left). Other than that it was fouls, misses, and turnovers. Not saying anyone did better, but let's keep perspective here.

  • BrentYen says 6 months ago

    I think he wanted Lin to take a breather. Plus, Canaan might have hit a few 3s in that period. Who knows.

  • uojoe82 says 6 months ago

    For the second straight game Harden had the worst +/-. Last night it was -17. Tonight it was -14. When Harden plays hero ball and doesnt get calls or hit threepointers the Rockets offense sputters and looks horrible.

    Whats with McHale pulling Lin in the fourth? Didnt he see Lin lead the comeback in the prior period?

  • thenit says 6 months ago The team just looked out of sync.

    I'm not sure of mchale trying to turn parsons into a defensive stopper really works. He has been poor all season and been killed by derozan and Paul in the last two outings. He still is consistent on offence but the defensive shift has been a failure.

    Asik did his job and DMo looked decent.

    Lin was Jekyll and Hyde. Poor in the first half and better during that big run but lost the momentum when he got back in last 3 min.

    Harden got his but lacked energy and that showed on D.

    I thought casspi and Garcia played well enough especially on D that lead us in the big run.

    Canaan like Lin hit a couple of big shots during that run but were otherwise poor as well. He couldn't guard Vasquez at all due to size differential. But these minutes I think will help him for the off season in his development.
  • Buckko says 6 months ago

    I'm not worried about standings. After the thunder, its nothing but bottom of the barrel and the spurs.

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