The Houston Rockets traveled north Sunday afternoon where they took on the Toronto Raptors for the second time this season. The first time around saw the Rockets take care of business 117-101, but they couldn’t get it done in the rematch, as they fell 103-96.
Coming into this contest, Houston had momentum from its victory against the Boston Celtics, but had also lost its last six road games. Something had to give, and early in the game, the road troubles were on full display.
The Rockets looked to push the tempo, but sloppy play made it difficult for them to get on the board. More than four minutes into the game, Houston still hadn’t scored, and Toronto had jumped out to an 8-0 lead.
The Raptors played a much more efficient game to start, but it didn’t take long for the Rockets to take over. They went on a 20-6 run to end the first quarter, and they took a two-point lead with them into the second.
The rest of the half proved to be back and forth, but neither team truly stole momentum. A few mini runs each way made it interesting, and the game was tied 49-49 heading into the third.
The second half began similarly to how the first quarter started. Houston was playing careless basketball, and turnovers and missed opportunities led to the Raptors taking control. But in familiar fashion, James Harden and the Rockets turned things around and kept it close heading into the final period.
This game became Toronto’s to lose as the final minutes trickled down. It became a free-throw contest late, and it was an uphill battle that the Rockets simply couldn’t overcome.
Houston has now lost six straight games at Air Canada Centre, and it won’t get any easier as it now prepares to take on the Eastern Conference-leading New York Knicks Monday night.