Spectators at Scotiabank Arena on Monday witnessed a thrilling game between the Toronto Raptors and the Houston Rockets, which the home team, unfortunately, lost 107-95. Unlike last season, when the Raptors had the best bench in the league, it’s clear from this game that Toronto’s bench can’t handle pressure, especially after they couldn’t take advantage of the third quarter and the fantastic comeback by the starters.
Kawhi Leonard scored 26 points in the Raptors 19th league defeat this season, while Harden scored 35 for the Rockets, including seven three-pointers in the last quarter alone, with the team from Houston recording their sixth win in a row. Pascal Siakam had 17 points for the Raptors, with Danny Green scoring 14, and Serge Ibaka 10.
Following their defeat against Detroit on Sunday, everyone expected Toronto to get back on their winning ways, but the start of the game was everything but ideal for the Raptors. The first quarter ended with Houston leading 23-19, with Toronto scoring just 3 three-point shots.
The Rockets started the second quarter with a 17-2 run, increasing their lead to 22 at one point. At the end of the first half of the game, the Raptors were 18 points behind, 55-37. And although it looked like the Raptors would be easily beaten, the real thriller was waiting to happen in the second half.
Two Very Different Quarters in the Second Half
The third quarter saw the Raptors starters made a 15-2 run, with Siakam scoring 15 points in this period alone. It was like a different team was on the court, and not only did Toronto manage to catch up Houston’s lead, but came from behind to end the quarter with two points up – 71-69.
Then the Raptors bench went into play, and again, it was like a different team was playing the game.
The Rockets were unstoppable in the fourth quarter, increasing the lead, while Harden’s three-pointer, 6 minutes before the buzzer, gave the Rockets a 14-point lead. Ibaka scored two free throws to cut the lead down to nine, but that was all the Raptors could do.
The Rockets shot the lights out in the fourth quarter, and when Harden drilled a three with just under six minutes to play, the long bomb was Houston’s seventh three-pointer of the quarter, giving the visitors a 14-point lead. Two free throws from Ibaka sliced Houston’s lead to nine points, but that was as close as Toronto would come.
Toronto lost the last quarter 38-24, for a final score of 107-95 for the visiting squad. The Raptors play their next game on Friday in New Orleans.