Houston looks to move on from yet another refereeing fiasco that came at their expense when they head north of the border to take on the defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors.
It still feels weird that the Raptors won a title last year, but they recovered from an 0-2 deficit to beat Giannis and the Bucks, then took down the (albeit wounded) juggernaut that was the Warriors. Then Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green left, and you figured, “Well, that’s that.”
That, it turns out, wasn’t that.
The Raptors are off to a 15-5 start and are solidly in the top tier of Eastern Conference teams. It’s hard to fully buy into this version of the team centered around Pascal Siakam and veterans, but Siakam is absolutely making believers out of us all. He’s averaging 25/9/4 and shooting 38% from deep as the top option. He’ll easily be an All-Star if he keeps this up, and new All-Stars are always the best.
The Raptors just got Kyle Lowry back from injury, as well as Serge Ibaka. The Raptors can throw Siakam, OG Anunoby, Norm Powell, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson at James Harden, so expect the Beard to have to work tonight.
Both of these teams are coming off overtime losses. The Raptors dropped their first home game of the season to a Jimmy Butler-led Miami win and Houston lost in a way that you don’t need me to rehash. It’s really not fun playing a team coming off a tough loss, so expect at least one of these teams to come out scorching.
Of course, none of this matters because the Rockets will not win a championship with Russell Westbrook on their roster.
Tip-off is at 6:30pm on NBA TV