Houston Rockets at Toronto Raptors

The Houston Rockets take on the Toronto Raptors at Scotiabank Arena on Thursday night. The Rockets (13-7) enjoyed plenty of success to start the season, but they’ll come into Thursday’s showdown with the defending champions having dropped three of their past five games. Their most recent stumble came Tuesday night, when they dropped a 135-133 double overtime decision to the San Antonio Spurs, a game that featured a controversial officiating error on a James Harden dunk in regulation that cost Houston what would turn out to be two critical points. Harden posted a game-high 50 points — partly on the strength of a 24-for-24 showing from the free-throw line — and added nine rebounds, six assists and four steals. Clint Capela followed with a 22-point, 21-rebound double-double that also included two assists, two blocks and one steal. Russell Westbrook generated a 19-point, 10-rebound, 10-assist triple-double that included two steals and one block. Austin Rivers matched Westbrook’s scoring total and also pulled down four boards. Ben McLemore poured in 11 points, while P.J. Tucker stuffed the stat sheet with 10 points, nine rebounds, two assists, three steals and two blocks. The Rockets will continue to be without Eric Gordon (knee) and Gerald Green (foot) on Thursday. Danuel House, Jr. (illness) and Nene Hilario (hip) will likely be listed as questionable at best. The Raptors (15-5) check in riding the wave of a stellar stretch of play, having won seven of their last eight games. Their one loss during that stretch came their last time on the court, as they fell to the Miami Heat by a 121-110 score in overtime Tuesday night. Norman Powell led the way for Toronto with 23 points, adding eight rebounds, one assist and one steal. Fred VanVleet provided 19 points, six assists, one rebound and three steals. Pascal Siakam posted a 15-point, 12-rebound double-double. Marc Gasol delivered 14 points, three rebounds, two assists and one block. Serge Ibaka totaled a near double-double of 13 points, nine rebounds and one block. Kyle Lowry generated a 12-point, 11-assist double-double that also included six rebounds, one steal and one block. The Raptors will be without Matt Thomas (finger), Stanley Johnson (groin) and Patrick McCaw (knee) for Thursday’s game. The Rockets swept the two-game 2018-19 season series with the Raptors. Thursday’s game is the first of two 2019-20 meetings for Houston and Toronto.


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