Toronto Raptors take care of business against undermanned Rockets team winning 117-111

Nickeem Khan
FiredUp Network Sports Writer


Friday, February 3, 2023

Coming off a disappointing loss against the Utah Jazz, the Toronto Raptors bounced back and picked up a crucial 117-108 win over the Houston Rockets. There have been numerous rumours swirling around regarding the Raptors, however, the team was able to put those aside and play winning basketball. This wasn't smooth sailing as Toronto had to earn this win.

The start of this game was anything but pretty. Houston got off to a 9-0 start and Toronto couldn't throw a penny in the ocean. Poor shot selection and overall flat energy emitting from the roster gave the sense that this would be another long night for the Raptors. 

That didn't end up being the case and the credit can be given to Chris Boucher for changing the tides of the game. With Toronto having no life, Boucher came off the bench and instantly provided a much-needed spark. He gave seven points in the opening period along with great defensive hustle and energy.

Toronto's early 13-point deficit was cut to just a single point going into the second quarter. Momentum didn't stop there as Gary Trent Jr. began to find his groove. Within the second period of play, Trent knocked down three of his five triples in those 12 minutes. He would finish the game with 29 points on an absurdly efficient 10-15 shooting from the field.

Trent's amazing play was highly noted but it was matched by his backcourt mate, Fred VanVleet, who followed up his triple-double performance with another great outing. The All-Star from just a season ago finished with 32 points, five rebounds, and four assists. His ability to control the game offensively allowed Toronto to build as large as a 19-point lead in the third quarter. Despite being up by nearly 20 points, Houston refused to back down.

Eric Gordon had a game reminiscent of the years of the Rockets' teams that were title contenders with James Harden as he finished with 28 points on 10-15 shooting. Alperen Sengun played greatly with him finishing with 21 points along with Kenyon Martin Jr. who added 20 points and six rebounds himself.

Houston being without Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr. showed great heart, which is simply all you can ask from a young team. Although Toronto hasn't been on their best level this season, they are objectively the better team and that's what it boiled down to tonight.

Toronto improves to 24-30 on the season and will get ready to face the Memphis Grizzlies for the final game of their West coast road trip on Sunday at 6 PM ET.