Gary Trent Jr. sank a floater with 4.8 seconds left and the Toronto Raptors erased a 24-point deficit to defeat the visiting Houston Rockets 117-115 on Friday.
Trent finished with 26 points and capped a wild closing stretch, one that included the Raptors (48-33) taking their first lead since early in the first quarter on a Scottie Barnes layup with 3:40 remaining. Barnes (16 points) added a dunk on the subsequent Toronto possession but the Rockets (20-61) ultimately pulled even on a Kevin Porter Jr. layup with 28.8 seconds left.
But Trent closed out the Rockets with his basket as Toronto won for the eighth time in nine games and secured at worst the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Pascal Siakam paced the Raptors with 29 points, 12 rebounds plus seven assists and matched Trent with three steals. Thaddeus Young scored 14 off the bench for the Raptors, including two key late baskets.
Toronto finished 22 of 23 from the free-throw line and scored 23 points off 19 Houston turnovers.
Porter paired 35 points with 10 rebounds while Josh Christopher scored 20 points on 9-of-12 shooting off the bench for Houston, which has dropped six in a row. Alperen Sengun scored 17.
Rockets rookie guard Jalen Green scored eight points and had his streak of consecutive 30-point games snapped at five. He shot 3 for 10 overall and was 0 for 3 from behind the arc.
The Raptors shot just 22.2 percent in the first quarter and endured a stretch of nearly six minutes without a field goal, a span during which the Rockets reeled off a 21-4 run to a 36-17 lead.
Porter scored eight points during a 10-0 blitz that anchored the rally and tallied 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting in the opening period. Toronto closed to within 36-20 on a Justin Champagnie 3-pointer with 1.5 seconds left in the first but the Rockets opened the second on another roll.
Daishen Nix followed back-to-back 3s from Christopher and Usman Garuba with two free throws that lifted Houston to a 53-29 lead. The Raptors fashioned an immediate reply, surging to within 56-47 on an 18-3 run that featured 10 points and an assist from Siakam. They cut the deficit to seven on two Chris Boucher free throws and shot a robust 60.9 percent in its 37-point second quarter.
–Field Level Media