The Houston Rockets might still be upset over the and loss to the San Antonio Spurs, but they'll need to put that on the backburner as they go into Toronto to face one of the toughest defensive teams in the league. The Toronto Raptors have managed to prove everyone wrong again, and have the third-best record in the East, while being nearly unbeatable at home. Pascal Siakam has proved he's worthy of that four-year, $130 million extension the Raptors signed him to in October, averaging a career-high 25.1 points a night, while improving his 3-point shooting and playmaking.
Toronto's seven-game win streak was snapped by the Miami Heat on Tuesday, and even though the Rockets are a tough team to match up against, the fact that the Raptors are playing at home, with Kyle Lowry now back in the lineup is an advantage for them. However, the Rockets' electric offense won't go quietly, so let's see what both teams bring to the table and make some predictions ahead of this matchup.
How to Watch
- Date: Thursday, Dec. 5 | 7:30 p.m. ET
- Location: Scotiabank Arena -- Toronto, Canada
- TV: NBATV | Stream: fuboTV (watch for free)
- Odds: TOR -110 | HOU -110 | O/U 230.5
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Raptors: Led by Siakam, Toronto has been a pleasant surprise through the first quarter of NBA action. It has the fourth-best net rating in the league, and is the second-best 3-point shooting team in the NBA. Siakam has taken a bigger leap than many expected to start the season, and has become a bona fide No. 1 scoring option for Toronto. Fred VanVleet has built upon the postseason success he found last season, and after missing 11 games due to a fractured left thumb, Lowry is now back in the starting lineup. The Raptors will have the tough task of slowing down a high-scoring Rockets team, but with their defensive presence, it may be enough to keep Harden and Co. from going off in Toronto.
Rockets: After an overtime loss to the Spurs, Houston hopes to go into Toronto and get back on the winning side of things, behind the 1-2 punch of Harden and Russell Westbrook. Aside from those two players, the Rockets have struggled to get any consistent scoring from their other players. They've had to deal with recent injuries to Danuel House and Ben McLemore, on top of Eric Gordon's knee injury which is expected to keep him out until at least late December.
Houston still boasts one of the worst defenses in the league, allowing an abysmal 115.5 points a night, and have won most games behind the high-powered offense that averages 120.9 points. The Rockets' defense certainly won't slow anyone down, so they'll hope that they can make life difficult for Toronto's defense to pick up their 14th win of the season.
Game prediction, pick
The Raptors are a slight favorite against the Rockets, and while Harden could very well go off for another 40-point performance, the lack of depth will prove to be a problem for Houston. Siakam will feast on the porous Houston defense, and if Toronto can limit the scoring of everyone else around Harden then the Raptors should come away with the win. After a poor shooting performance against the Spurs, where he shot 23.3 percent from the field, and 16.7 percent from beyond the arc, Westbrook will need to show up big on offense to help Harden in this game. Still, though, Toronto's depth and defense will be enough to edge out the Rockets in a close contest. Pick: Raptors (-1.5)