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Raptors back home to face improved Rockets

Sportsnaut
Oct 31, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon (10) control the ball in the second half against the LA Clippers at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Rockets ended a six-game losing streak Monday against the Orlando Magic and will try to build on that Wednesday night when they visit the Toronto Raptors.

The Rockets defeated the Magic 134-127 for their first road win of the season and only their second victory overall.

The Raptors lost 111-97 Monday night at Chicago to split a home-and-home series with the Bulls as they continue to play without Pascal Siakam (adductor strain).

The Rockets had an abundance of firsts on Monday: most points, field goals (46), 3-pointers (24), and assists (31), as well as their best shooting percentage (52.9 percent) and best 3-point percentage (50 percent). They also had their top individual scoring game with 34 points from Jalen Green, and their top individual assists game with 11 from Kevin Porter Jr.

“It was the ball movement that led to 3-point shooting for us,” Rockets coach Stephen Silas said. “We’re not going to make 24 3s every night, but at least we’re creating opportunities for our teammates. That was probably the thing I was most proud of.

“I’ve been on it. I’ve been on it as far as moving the ball and the numbers and the philosophy and everything a coach does when it comes to getting the ball moving. I’ve been talking to them a lot about it. Hopefully, it’s sinking in.”

The Rockets’ Eric Gordon scored a season-best 19 points, while going 5 of 8 from 3-point range. Kenyon Martin Jr. had 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting with two blocked shots.

“When that ball is moving, you are going to get the shots that you want,” Gordon said. “You are going to get the shots that you need from certain guys. We need to move the ball and play faster and try to get a good shot every time down the floor.”

The Rockets did commit four turnovers in the final five minutes.

“That’s a learning lesson at the end,” Green said. “We could have finished up a lot better. We kept giving up 3s toward the end of the game and kept fouling. I think if we were more locked in defensively, they wouldn’t have gotten a lot of those. I think it is definitely a learning lesson.”

Siakam’s absence was felt by the Raptors on offense and defense during Monday’s game against the Bulls.

Fred VanVleet, who had 27 points, and Gary Trent Jr., who had 19, provided most of the offense. VanVleet scored 30 points Sunday in the victory over the Bulls at Toronto after missing three games with a stiff back.

O.G. Anunoby, who had 22 points on Sunday, had 13 points on Monday.

Precious Achiuwa had 10 points and four rebounds for the Raptors on Monday, with coach Nick Nurse suggesting the forward has much more to offer.

“I think we’re still trying to raise that level of consistency with Precious,” Nurse said. “Precious, when he’s got it going, when he’s running the floor and rebounding hard, it usually transfers to the rest of his game. It’s just finding that spark to get it going for him. I’ve been thinking of a lot of ways to do that for him.”

–Field Level Media