Gary Trent Jr. exploded for 42 points and the Toronto Raptors extended their win-streak to 8 with a 139-120 victory over the Houston Rockets.
The Raptors wrapped up their mini road-trip at 3-0, and are now 15-11 on the road with a 31-23 record overall.
Toronto were without all-star Fred VanVleet in this one due to groin soreness, but were still favourites considering the lowly Rockets entered Thursday nights proceedings with a 15-40 record.
It was a hectic first quarter for a Raptors team that now owns the longest win streak in the NBA. Pascal Siakam and Trent especially were dominant, but they allowed 41 points in just the first frame alone, putting them behind the ball early. Luckily for Toronto the Rockets shooting cooled off in the second while theirs remained ablaze, and it led to a 73-64 lead at the half. The third was a bit more evenly contested than the second, and a Rockets run to start the fourth spearheaded by Kevin Porter Jr. brought them within 10 points with 5 minutes to play. From there though the Raptors put their foot back on the gas and pushed the game out of reach, eventually walking away with the comfortable 19-point road victory.
The aforementioned Trent Jr. was the star in VanVleet’s absence, scoring a massive 42 points (just shy of his career high of 44). Siakam was his partner in crime, cooling off a bit in the second half but still finishing with 30 points on 13/19 from the floor. OG Anunoby had a solid night with 13 points and 4 rebounds, while Scottie Barnes and Precious Achiuwa scored 9 and 6 points respectively. The Raptors were finally able to get some bench production, with Montreal native Chris Boucher scoring 16 and Rexdale’s Dalano Banton scoring 10. The bench as a whole finished with 39.
Porter Jr. was the main man for the Rockets in Thursday’s loss, scoring 30 points alongside 8 assists. Rookie Jalen Green finished with 18, Garrison Matthews had 19, Christian Wood had a 17-point 11-rebound double-double and JaeSean Tate rounded out the starters with 12 points. Kenyon MartinJr. had 11 off the bench, giving the Rockets six different double-digit scorers. The offence was fine for Houston, but the defence was unable to get stops and forced them to play from behind the entire way.
Especially on the second night of a back-to-back, there were a lot of positives to take from the win. The Raptors bench finally outscored the oppositions reserves, they forced the Rockets into committing 21 turnovers and shot good percentages across the board.
With the news of Goran Dragic being traded for Thaddeus Young on Thursday, the Raptors also have a new bench piece to look forward to moving forward.
The win keeps the Raptors in 6th, only one game out of fifth and four games behind first place in the Eastern Conference.
Toronto will return home to try and make it nine-straight against a tough Denver Nuggets team on Saturday, while the Rockets will open a road trip in Utah on Monday against the Jazz.
Trent Jr. – 42 PTS 1 REB 4 AST
Siakam – 30 PTS 3 REB 4 AST
Boucher – 16 PTS 5 REB 0 AST
Porter Jr. – 30 PTS 3 REB 8 AST
Wood – 17 PTS 11 REB 6 AST
Matthews – 19 PTS 6 REB 0 AST