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Game 23 Recap: Ariza, Rockets can't buy a basket, fall to Raptors 111-88

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You know what's odd?  People are going to credit Toronto's defense with this win.  But isn't it funny that a team that shoots 36% from the field can still manage eighty-eight points?  Though the Raptors may have improved their defense over the last couple of games, they only forced ten turnovers, and the Rockets were able to put up 87 shots, many of which were decidedly open.  Once Houston finally started making the open shots, they were too far behind to make any sort of comeback.

Looking at the stat sheet, the Rockets' three point shooting, a paltry thirteen percent, screams out like its purely responsible for the terrible offensive output.  But what you won't see are the numerous misses from point-blank range.  Chuck Hayes has struggled recently around the rim, after getting off to a fantastic start in October and November, and folks like Ariza and Kyle Lowry missed layups as well.  Like I said, it wasn't necessarily Toronto's defense that stifled us; we just missed shots that teams have to make to win games.

Once again, however, the blame cannot be placed on the shoulders of Carl Landry, who has been simply stunning.  I don't care what Jet Terry is doing in Dallas; Landry's impact on our team off the bench has been much greater than Terry's in Dallas.  Jonathan Feigen noted yesterday that Landry is second in the league in fourth-quarter scoring, at 6.6 points per game.  Ahead of him on the list is Dwyane Wade.  Behind him on the list is LeBron James.  Go figure.

Even more amazing is the fact that Landry has been receiving additional attention over the last few games, and has still managed some of his best scoring outputs on the season.  The Raptors piled up the paint today in an attempt to stop him, and he still collected 25 points to go with six offensive rebounds.  If only the other Rockets could have helped him out by knocking down the open shots that they were given, then we may have been able to pull off one of those Philadelphia comebacks.  If it were to happen against anyone, it would be Toronto.

That's all I've got for today.  The only good news from this is that the loss wasn't a product of poor effort, but rather of poor shooting.  You make some, you miss some - that's how basketball goes.  However, if the Rockets want to continue their winning ways, guys like Chase Budinger, Dave Andersen, and Ariza had better start hitting those open shots more often.

Oh, and about that Ariza forearm?  Whatever.  He'll probably miss one game at the most.  He's got to be frustrated with himself.  Perhaps he will use it as motivation.

Raptors HQ

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