Photo by: Joshua Chua
The Toronto Raptors played against the Houston Rockets at Scotiabank arena on Nov. 9 for their 12th regular season game.
Starting for the Raptors were point guard Fred VanVleet, shooting guard Gary Trent Jr., small forward O.G. Anunoby, power forward Scottie Barnes and center Christian Koloko, while the Rockets had point guard Kevin Porter Jr., shooting guard Jalen Green, small forward Eric Gordon, power forward Jabari Smith Jr., and center Alperen Şengün as their starting five.
The game had a very upbeat tempo early on. Both teams came out to play, which was evident by their offensive performances. Anunoby helped the Raptors stay on track early on, making three three-pointers in three possessions a few minutes into the game. The Rockets however, won the battle in the first quarter. After both teams scored in most of their possessions, the Rockets had 37 points while the Raptors had 29.
Raptors’ commentator Jack Armstrong accurately foreshadowed the team’s scoring performance early on in the game.
“The Raptors got 29 points in the first quarter, you times that by four, that’s a pretty good offensive game,” said Armstrong, at the end of the first quarter.
The Raptors redeemed themselves in front of the home crowd in the second quarter, great teamwork, communication and execution, coupled with VanVleet’s smart playmaking, allowed the Raptors to outscore the Rockets 28-17 in the second quarter. They went on a 15 to four run to end the quarter. At halftime, the Raptors had 57 points in total while the Rockets had 54.
The third quarter proved just how consistent the Raptors stayed throughout the game. They ended it with 29 points to the Rockets’ 28 points after battling some lead changes. Key players for the Raptors such as Anunoby, VanVleet, Barnes and Trent Jr continued to play smart basketball for their home crowd. The Raptors had 86 points in the game to end the third quarter while the Rockets had 82.
The fourth quarter was as exciting as it could get. Both teams played well and continued to excel offensively, giving the home crowd a real show. Good offensive basketball by the Raptors, highlighted by clutch fourth quarter three-pointers by VanVleet and Raptors forward Otto Porter Jr., allowed the Raptors to be victorious by the end of the game. They outscored the Rockets 30 to their 27, allowing them to win the game 116-109.
VanVleet finished with a season high of 32 points, however, Anunoby’s defensive effort, with three steals and one block, along with his 27 points, not to mention getting his first double-double of the season, made him the Hyundai Performer of the Game.
His shooting was commendable, and it seems that being relaxed works for him.
“Just taking my catch and shoots, and not forcing it,” said Anunoby, at a post-game interview.
Overall, the Raptors’ consistent offensive scoring, which was around 29 points each quarter, was the main factor in them winning the game. The Raptors now have five wins and one loss at home, and seven wins and five losses in their season making them fifth in the eastern conference. The Rockets have two wins and ten losses, keeping them last place in the western conference.
Highlights of the game can be watched here.