Jeremy Lin’s performance (31 points coming off the bench) and Dwight Howard’s defensive dominance (24 rebounds, five blocks) are the only things the Houston Rockets can cheer about after the game against the Toronto Raptors at the Toyota Center.
Houston dominated the ball game in the first half but weren’t able to close things up in the second, allowing Toronto to come back into the game. The Raptors forced two overtime periods but the Rockets came out on top 110-104 thanks to ‘Linsanity’ and James Harden, who carried the team offensively in the second extra period.
Despite the win, however, it’s clear that Houston needs to tune several things if they are looking to make some noise this season as their overall performance was quite dismal, to say the least.
The Rockets faded away progressively on the offensive side of the ball in the second half, being outscored in the third period and finishing with only 16 points in the final quarter of regulation. Their overtime display wasn’t much better as the team struggled often to create good looks.
Their defense wasn’t much better as they surrendered several offensive rebounds and baskets near the rim despite the presence of players like Howard and Omer Asik. The team looked out of sync defensively and the Raptors took advantage of that situation.
Houston can’t repeat performances like this if they’re looking to contend in a tough Western Conference this year. They are clearly a better team than Toronto and they need to avoid complacency and be much more accurate offensively if they want avoid shocking results against them, especially at home.
They were able to avoid the upset today, but it’s not clear that they will come out on top again if they suffer these same inconsistencies against a better team.