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Rockets vs. Raptors game preview: it’s Canada in Tampa!

Toronto Raptors v Miami Heat Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Houston Rockets look to prevent a double digit losing streak from happening tonight when they travel to (checks notes)...Tampa?

The Raptors have had to forgo their normal digs in Toronto for balmy Tampa Bay in Florida due to the COVID protocols in Canada. It has to be bittersweet for players, who get a nicer climate than chilly Canada, but are unable to enjoy it because of quarantine. I’m sure there’s also issues with family members and having to relocate to a new city. It’s a transition that has to be difficult for players and staff.

The Raps are 16-17 and are tied for fifth in the East. Much like the West, there are three teams in the East (Philly, Brooklyn, and Milwaukee) that are in the top tier, followed by about ten teams all within a few games of each other.

Toronto is on a two-game losing streak. In their loss to the Heat, Pascal Siakam shot 1-6 and didn’t feature in the fourth quarter. I know he’ll go off for 50 tonight, but I think the Rockets dodged a bullet by not insisting on a trade for a player like Siakam in the James Harden trade. The Raptors start Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet, two of my favorite players to watch. Lowry does flop as often as people thought Harden did, but I digress. Norm Powell and OG Anunoby round out the starters, which shows you that the Raptors seem to be willing to go small-ball full time. It failed for Houston, but maybe it will work for Toronto. Chris Boucher and Terence Davis come off the bench, as does their one true center, Aron Baynes.

For Houston, there are no injuries to report other than Christian Wood continuing to be out.

Tip-off is at 6:30pm CT on AT&T SportsNet Southwest