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Fred VanVleet’s season high leads Raptors past Rockets

Nov 9, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN;  Houston Rockets guard Kevin Porter Jr. (3) tries to get past Toronto Raptors guards Fred VanVleet (23) and Gary Trent Jr. (33) in the first half at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Fred VanVleet scored a season-best 32 points and added four steals as the Toronto Raptors defeated the visiting Houston Rockets 116-109 Wednesday night.

O.G. Anunoby added 27 points, 10 rebounds and three steals for the Raptors, who played without forward Pascal Siakam (groin). Otto Porter Jr. scored 14 points, Scottie Barnes had 13 and Gary Trent Jr. added 11 for the Raptors.

Jalen Green paced the Rockets with 21, though six other scored in double digits. Alperen Sengun had 17 points and eight rebounds, Kevin Porter Jr. had 12 points and 11 assists, Jabari Smith Jr. scored 15 points, and Eric Gordon added 10 as all five starters had at least 10. Tari Eason added 14 points and Kenyon Martin Jr. 13 off the bench.

After a back-and-forth first half, Toronto took a four-point lead into the fourth quarter. Houston scored the first four points of the fourth to tie it, then took a two-point lead on Dalshen Nix’s 3-pointer with 9:48 remaining. With the teams swapping leads for the next four-plus minutes, Toronto got back-to-back 3-pointers from Otto Porter Jr. to take a 106-99 lead with 5:08 to play.

Houston never got closer than four the rest of the way.

The Rockets opened the game with a 37-29 lead after one quarter, then scored the first four points of the second. But Toronto answered with a 10-0 run to close within 41-39, before Houston regained an eight-point lead on Smith’s 3-pointer with 4:30 remaining in the quarter.

Toronto responded, however, with an 8-0 run to close the final 84 seconds of the half. Barnes’s 3-pointer with 28 seconds left gave the Raptors a 57-54 lead at the break.

After leading the game with 20 first-half points, Anunoby had steals on consecutive Houston possessions to help Toronto to a 70-62 lead with 8:13 to play in the third quarter. His first steal set up Trent for a layup; Anunoby scored himself on a dunk after his second steal.

VanVleet connected on two straight 3-pointers to expand the lead to 12 points with 7:03 left in the third. Green’s 3-pointer with 3:28 to go trimmed the margin to five at 80-75, then Martin’s 3-pointer tied the game at 80-80 with 2:03 left.

Toronto scored the next four points and held an 86-82 lead after three quarters.

Toronto’s Precious Achiuwa (sprained ankle) left the game in the fourth quarter and did not return. He had four points and six rebounds.

–Field Level Media