Game 12 Preview: Houston Rockets at Toronto Raptors

Check out the fourth episode of the DreamCast, where Tom and Xiane welcome Tas Melas (of the Basketball Jones fame-now with The Score) to the podcast. Melas and the other three guys (J.E. Skeets, Jason Doyle, and Matt Osten) met in Toronto, so he knows the Raptors better than almost anyone else. There's some good stuff about Joey Dorsey and David Andersen in there, if you're like me and like to hear about how former Rockets are faring with other teams.

The Raptors are 3-9, mere percentage points behind the Rockets in overall NBA standings. I think this quote is pretty telling (link):

“We just ain’t no taking pride, no passion, no dedication, nothing like that. It’s more like going through the motions and stuff like that. We just need to go find a couple of new hearts, get a couple of heart surgeries or something. I don't know what it is, but it's definitely something."

-F Reggie Evans, on his team's work ethic, or lack of it.

Sounds pretty familiar to me. Alas, someone has to win tonight. Hopefully, it's us.

Keys to the Game: Pretty much the same as always

Consistency

DEFENSE

Limit turnovers

Bench play

FREE JORDAN HILL!!!

Check out the matchups after the jump.

Matchups:

PG: Kyle Lowry vs. Jarrett Jack:

Does anyone know why Jack starts over Calderon? I always like Calderon, and I honestly don't know (about) Jack. I know he's getting 11/4/3, and I know he's started before. I don't mean this as an insult to Jack. Really, I don't.

Maybe a kind Raptor fan can help me out?

Kyle is a mixed bag right now. Mike's insight is better than mine.

Advantage: Rockets, maybe

SG: Kevin Martin vs. Sonny Weems

I have a friend from Arkansas who can't get enough Sonny Weems. So I kind of don't like that guy. But he is really good. And his name is pretty cool. It's no Magnum Rolle, but it's a second tier star. Certainly worth a mid-level exception, with the potential of landing a Scola-type deal.

Weems is shooting 53% from the field in the early going, and he's shooting 43% from behind the arc. He's athletic and has a great shot. He reminds me a little of Jermaine Taylor, if JT had a jump shot. The athleticism is how they are similar. And Weems is a little taller.

Kevin Martin, you gotta step it up, dude.

Advantage: Rockets

SF: Shane Battier vs. DeMar DeRozan

DeRozan has four capital letters in his name. That's awesome. Also, he's great at drawing an elbow.

DeRozan was shut down by Evan Turner in the Raptors' recent game against the 76ers. If a rookie can hold him to 4 points, then Shane should be able to do a decent job.

But, you never know with the Rockets at the small forward position. Chase Budinger may return for this game.

Advantage: Even

PF: Luis Scola vs. Reggie Evans:

Do you even have to ask?

Advantage: Rockets

C: Brad Miller vs. Andrea Bargnani:

Bargnani is averaging 21 points per game and shooting 44% from the field. He doesn't grab many rebounds, but he does spread the floor and open up the paint for the slashers on this team.

Would the Raptors have taken someone else at number one overall in the 2006 Draft if they had a chance? Probably. LaMarcus Aldridge, Brandon Roy, Rudy Gay, and Rajon Rondo were all in that draft class and have had better careers so far. Paul Millsap was in that class, too.

Advantage: Raptors

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Bench:

Raptors: Jose Calderon, Leandro Barbosa (questionable), Julian Wright, Amir Johnson, Joey Dorsey, David Andersen

Rockets: Ish Smith, Courtney Lee, Chuck Hayes, Jordan Hill, Jared Jeffries, Chase Budinger (maybe)

Advantage: 

Injuries:

Raptors:Barbosa questionable, Ed Davis out

Rockets: Brooks out, Yao out, Budinger questionable

Prediction: We should win

Yaseer: "Rockets."

Ben: "Rockets win. The Raptors are so bad, they're worse than...the Rockets. If you lose today, I'll lose all faith in you."

Prediction records:

Yaseer: 2-1

Ben: 2-1

AK: 6-5

Rockets vs Raptors coverage

Raptors HQ

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