Raptors comeback from down 24 as they clinch the fifth-seed in the Eastern Conference
FiredUp Network Sports Writer
Friday, April 8, 2022
The Toronto Raptors defeated the Houston Rockets 117-115 at Scotiabank arena, improving to 48-33 on the season with one-game left to play. Pascal Siakam once again led the way for the Raptors with a statline of 29 points, 12 rebounds, and seven assists which also included three steals and a block. With the win, and a Chicago Bulls loss, the Raptors now have sole possession of the fifth-seed in the Eastern Conference.
Gary Trent Jr. chipped in with 26 points of his own, to go along with three steals. Despite the scoring showings, it was a struggle early on for the Raptors to find the bottom of the net. They started the game extremely cold from the field, shooting 22% in the first quarter, while the Rockets jumped out to a 36-20 lead on their hot 15/23 (65%) shooting.
The second quarter only saw more buckets for Houston, as they led by as many as 24 points. Siakam was able to keep the Raptors within punching distance seemingly all-night long, as he went on a personal 7-0 run within the span of a minute, and the Raptors as a team turned it into a 13-0 run which had the Raptors trailing by nine going into halftime.
In the third, the Raptors jumped out with a 13-3 run that made it a two-point game. At the 5:32 mark, Toronto tied the game at 78 with a Trent Jr. three. After climbing all the way back from down 24, the Rockets responded with their own 7-0 run to keep the Raptors at bay. Houston led 95-85 heading into the final quarter.
In the fourth, Nick Nurse decided to go to the eleventh man, Yuta Watanabe, and he had an instant impact in the game on both ends of the court. He started with an and-one layup to cut the lead to five, and his energy and effort on defence threw a wrench in Houston’s offensive synergy.
A 7-1 run by Toronto had the game tied once again, this time at 105. The Raptors climbed again to tie the game, and this time the Raptors finally broke through with a Scottie Barnes layup, followed by a Barnes dunk which gave them a four-point cushion. The game was never tied again, as the Raptors closed out the Rockets, matching them shot-for-shot, and closing out a crucial defensive possession at the end of the game to seal the deal.
The 24-point comeback marks the third-largest comeback win in franchise history, as the Raptors outscored the Rockets 82-54 from the second quarter onwards. Kevin Porter Jr. led the way for Houston, finishing with 35 points, 10 rebounds, and four assists on the night. Rookie Josh Christopher scored 20 points off the bench to go along with five rebounds and four assists on 9-for-12 shooting.
Up next for the Raptors, they’ll take on the New York Knicks in Madison Square Garden to close out the regular season. Tip off begins at 7:00pm EST on Sunday, April 10th.