Rockets beat Raptors. Who’s the MVB?

After 3 losses in a row put them 9th in the west, Houston manages to beat a tough Toronto Raptors team for the 2nd time in a row this season.

The formula for beating the Raptors was actually pretty similar. They have been having the big guy show on screens, and having guys rotate from 3 point shooters to help cover the roll guy in the paint. When the Rockets were in Toronto, the Raptors were unable to hit relatively open 3s. This time however, the Raptors shot 13-31 from the 3 point line. But from inside the 3 point line they were 26-63 (41%). Derozan had an average 18 point game on 6-13 shooting. Lowry had a poor 4-19 night. Sufficed to say, Houston played well enough on the defensive end against a top offensive team.

The only lapse defensively was the 2nd quarter where Toronto went off for 37 points and shot 56%, Scola by himself had 13. The Rockets turned the ball over 8 times in the quarter alone. But in the 3rd and 4th quarter the defense tightend up again, going small for stretches of the game because of foul trouble to Howard and Capela.

And this was important because they went into the 4th quarter with just a 1 point lead. In the past 3 games, they either had a lead or were down by only a few points, but then managed to blow the lead in the 4th. But instead, they went on a 14-2 run going back to the moment Brewer checked in for Capela late in the 3rd.

That brings us to the important question. Who was the MVB of this game?

You actually had a lot of guys to choose from. Corey Brewer had 10 points off the bench, only attempted 1 three which he made. Made a living this game slashing to the basket and scoring around the rim. In the 4th quarter he had a pretty nice and-1 drive to the basket in which he was grabbed in the paint by the shoulders but still managed to hit the high arcing shot. And he had some cool plays for the highlight reel defensively. In the 2nd quarter he ran back to block a layup in transition. But the best play was late in the 3rd, first he gets the block right at the rim. The ball winds up in the hands of another Raptor who tries to score, only to get the ball poked out by Brewer once again.

Another MVB candidate is Pat Beverly. Who tied his career high in 3 pointers with 5, wound up with 17 points. And while he had plenty of help guarding Lowry, he did contribute to Lowry’s poor game.

Then, of course you have Beasley. Was “quiet” for 2 games in a row with 10 and 11 points consecutively. Today, unleashed a 21 point game on 9-12 shooting.

But the obvious choice for MVB of this game is the Beard himself, James Harden. Recording his 3rd triple double of the year at 32 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists (and 7 TOs). He played heavy minutes (42), never sitting out the 2nd half.

Other notes:
-Derozan got two techs in a row and got ejected with 2:55 left to go in the game. They were only down by 6 at the time, so the game was certainly in reach. Lowry also got his 2nd tech with less than a minute to go, but that was the game was effectively over at that point. If I were a fan of Toronto, I would feel like they let a very winnable game get away from them.
-D-Mo had another solid 11 point game, shooting 5-8 from the field. It was really cool to see D-Mo post up Scola, seeing as Scola is a beloved former Rocket. Also someone D-Mo looked up to early in his career. Only played 15 minutes. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it was a reaction to Scola “lighting” us up in the 2nd quarter. Beasley was a better person to have guard guys all the way out to the 3 point line.
-Howard had a really mediocre game. 2 points, 5 rebounds in 23 minutes. Never really got into rhythm. Got into foul trouble early in the 3rd, and by the time we felt comfortable bringing him back in, the small ball line-up was already pretty effective.

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