The Rockets overcame an obvious trap game and a poor shooting night from James Harden to beat the Magic, another win on the second night of back-to-back. For their next trick, they travel from the second-farthest south NBA city to the northernmost, crossing international borders while they're at it, for their third game in three nights.
The Rockets are again the hottest team in the NBA, again on a winning streak of seven or more games, and again they are within reach of the San Antonio Spurs (1.5 games back before tipoff) and shouting distance of the Warriors. They face the Raptors for the second time this season (AK has a reminder of what the loss in Game 1 was like in his preview today). Their matchup was the last time the Rockets lost to an Eastern Conference team.
Key for Houston will be not getting out to another slow start; the Raptors' offense is one of two ranked even better than the Rockets', and it's no guarantee Houston will be able to come back from a double-digit deficit in this game. James Harden also needs to be better than he was against Orlando; 16 points on crappy shooting with high turnovers isn't going to get it done with the way Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan have played all season.