This recap will follow a quarter-by-quarter format. Something a little different.
A Very Loud Fred VanVleet Tribute Video plays, despite Fred himself not playing. Still, a nice gesture. Dillon Brooks receives a warm welcome from the Canadian crowd, and takes that as “A Sign” that he must take every shot (1-5), dribble a lot (2TO), foul a lot (3 including the worst “clear path” call ever - the referees hate this call and make a mockery of it every time they can, such is my belief). A momentous 7 minutes.
The rest of the Rockets? Not awake. Not even close to awake. Toronto is a famed nightspot, so perhaps that’s what happened?
Anyhow, seven turnovers, and the Rockets end the quarter down 34-20.
Signs of life, except for Aaron Holiday, the PG who really shouldn’t dibble and call his own number quite so much. But Ime Udoka is forced to put Unseasoned Rookie Cam Whitmore in the game, and he, along with Tate, promptly bring the Rockets back in five minutes.
Aside - The Raptors bark a whole lot for such a crap team. There’s basically no one left from their championship team now, so it’s hard to see why they’re that way.
The run of Cam inspired competence is short lived, as Dillon Brooks, working on doing all the things that made him seem like a bad signing, at once, comes back in. Aaron Holiday continues to do stuff that might look ok on a score sheet, but is just dismal in an actual game. He organized literally no offense that doesn’t revolve around him driving, and maybe, kicking. He has 4 assists at the half, and really one is a play he made.
The Rockets go back to collapse mode, with Sengun struggling to make shots, and Whitmore hitting the floor a lot on basket attacks to no result.
The Raptors lead by 11 at the half, despite not doing anything especially impressive, besides a weak sort of defensive trap, and standing around in the paint for entire possessions, waiting for Rockets drives.
The halftime act is a man doing some difficult looking gymnastics with a small dog.
The third quarter beings with...the Raptors shooting a technical because Ime Udoka complained that Yakob Pertel (phonetically) continued his typically dirty, whiny, play and smashed a forearm into Tate’s back at a run. This play, incidentally, seemed to injure Cam Whitmore. So, it’s good to see the innocent party punished twice.
The Rockets terrible play in this one has only been matched by the terrible reffing thus far. It’s hard to say which is worse.
The terrible Rockets play continues with intermittent periods of mild competence. The Raptors lead was as much as 22 in the quarter, but they end only up...17.
It’s kind of more of the same, except Udoka has worked out that Jeff Green is a matchup that Deoty Poetl can’t really handle. The Rockets bench makes inroads into the Raptors lead, mostly courtesy of Reggie Bullock. Apparently the shooter we needed, and wanted at the trade deadline, was in our hearts, or buried on our bench, all along.
The Rockets, courtesy of a lineup of...Thompson, Brooks, Green, Jabari and Reggie Bullock manage to get the Toronto lead down to 5 points with about five minutes left.
The game continues down to the wire, with the Rockets getting near the Raptors, but never quite closing them down.
With 29 seconds remaining, the Raptors lead by 4, with the Rockets challenging an out of bounds play where Aaron Holiday went for a steal, but is called for a foul. They win it! It’s bizarre!
The inbounds goes to Jeff Green for a wide open three. He misses, but the Rockets get the ball back out of bounds, but wait, the Raptors challenge it. They lose! The Rockets get another chance to cut the lead to 1 on a made three, 105-101.
Which Dillon Brooks does! Pure 3pt shot!. 104-105!
Rockets foul. Toronto makes both free throws. 107-104.
Aaron Holiday just misses the 3pt to tie the game, but Amen Thompson makes an amazing offensive rebound. The Rockets call timeout with 2.2 seconds left...
Jeff Green takes an awkward 3pt with time running out...and misses it.
In the end the Rockets sloppy play - 28 Toronto points off 21 Rockets turnovers, was just too much to overcome.
We did see some Udoka accountability, with both Jalen Green, and Alperen Sengun, both terrible, sitting for the entirety of the comeback attempt.
It was a valiant comeback attempt, but ultimately falls a couple of shots short.
This isn’t a moral victory because the Rockets played so terribly for most of the game.
The team plays again in Atlanta tomorrow night, which, wow, that’s a pretty long trip for a road B2B. Thanks again, schedule!
Sentimetometre (Canadian Version)