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Rockets start strong, but fail to hold on vs. Raptors

The Rockets were up by as much as 24, but weren’t able to complete the job.

NBA: Houston Rockets at Toronto Raptors John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Everything was clicking for the Houston Rockets in the first part of the game.

Shots were falling, defense was stout and the team found themselves up 24 points just 16 minutes into the game.

Unfortunately for the Rockets, it all went downhill from there in a 117-115 defeat.

The Rockets held a 53-29 lead with 8:32 to go in the second quarter and Kevin Porter Jr. led the way. Scoot was fantastic for the second game in a row, leading the team with 35 points.

Jalen Green struggled coming off the heels of five straight 30-point performances. He scored just eight points on 3 of 10 shooting from the field. The Raptors learned from the scouting report and made it difficult for him to get a shot all night long.

The Rockets struggled in the paint to combat the Raptors’ bigs, but other role players were able to fill the void when Green struggled. Alperen Sengun added 17 points, while Josh Christopher dropped 20 off the bench.

In the second half, the game turned into a battle of runs, with the Rockets striking in the late third quarter to go up 10 into the final frame, but the Raptors pushed their limits and scrounged back to take a lead late in the fourth.

The Rockets were given one final chance to tie the game with 4.7 seconds left and surprisingly put the ball in Sengun’s hands. Sengun was able to get a decent look despite being guarded by Pascal Siakam, but was unable to get the final shot to fall. There’s a chance that he might have been fouled, but alas, the game ended in the Rockets’ 61st loss of the season.

With just one game to go, the Rockets are guaranteed at least a tie for the league’s worst record, but tonight proved that the team is still playing with a lot of competitiveness and the team wants to finish off the season strong.

The Rockets suit up one final time in the regular season Sunday at home against the Atlanta Hawks. Tipoff is set for 2:30 p.m. CT.