The Houston Rockets bounced back from Tuesday morning’s loss to defeat the Toronto Raptors 118-111 in the second game of the NBA Japan Games. The team once again only played the starters for three quarters, but this time they were able to bring back a win.
The Rockets were led by James Harden and Russell Westbrook, who scored 22 points apiece, but they were just a combined 4-19 from three-point range, with Westbrook taking 11 of the threes (making 3).
I realize Russ is still trying to shake off the rust, but he shouldn’t be chucking that much, even in Houston’s three-heavy scheme. That’s something the Rockets need to dial back if they’re going to have success this season. Russ should be in attack, attack, attack mode rather than relying so heavily on his creaky deep shot. This was one of Rockets fans’ concerns about Westbrook, and it’s only his second preseason game, but it’ll be a long year if Russ is taking 10 or 11 triples per night.
In addition, the Rockets got 14 from Eric Gordon on 4-8 from deep, 10 points, 7 boards and 2 blocks from Clint Capela, who has recovered from his thumb injury, and 10 points from Austin Rivers.
Notable bench performers were Isaiah Hartenstein, who grabbed 8 boards in 9 minutes, Tyson Chandler, who played 15 minutes and blocked 2 shots, and Chris Clemons, who had 9 points but was just 2-10 from the field in 13 minutes of action.
Ben McLemore finally cooled off, going for just 3 points on 1-5 shooting, and Gerald Green and Danuel House were just a combined 1-9 from deep. The Rockets shot just 17-64 from deep range (yes, 64!), and they finished the game with just 38 percent shooting as a team.
The Raptors were led by Norman Powell, who finished with 22 points, Pascal Siakam who had 16 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists, and Fred VanVleet who finished with a 10-point, 10-assist double-double.
Houston moves to 3-1 on the preseason slate and will return to the court next week — giving them time to travel back from Japan — with an October 16 game at the Toyota Center against the San Antonio Spurs.