05 Dec 2019, 04:00 IST
Date & Time: Thursday, 5th December 2019 (7:30 PM ET)
Venue: Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, ON
Last game results
Houston Rockets (13-7): 133-135 OT loss against the San Antonio Spurs (3rd December, Tuesday)
Toronto Raptors (15-5): 110-121 OT loss against the Miami Heat (3rd December, Tuesday)
Houston Rockets Preview
The Houston Rockets have blown hot and cold this season. After stitching together an eight-game win-streak earlier this campaign, the Rockets have dropped four of their last six games, including a shock loss on the road against the struggling San Antonio Spurs.
The Rockets led by as many as 16 points in the fourth quarter against San Antonio, but struggled to contain the Spurs in the final period, allowing Gregg Popovich’s side to claw their way back and eventually seal a surprising victory.
Despite the loss, the Rockets are still firmly ensconced in the playoff spots and they will be keen to get back to winning ways when they travel to Toronto to take on the defending champions.
Key Player – James Harden
James Harden has carried the Houston offense on his shoulders all season. He’s averaging a whopping 39.5 points per game to go with 6.1 rebounds, and 7.8 assists.
Harden enters this contest on the back of consecutive 50-point outings, against the Atlanta Hawks and San Antonio Spurs. He torched Atlanta for 60 points in just three quarters and followed it up with 50 against the Spurs, making all 24 of his free throw attempts.
Harden struggled from the field against San Antonio, hitting on just 11 of his 38 attempts, and he will be keen to make amends when he takes the court against the Raptors.
Rockets predicted lineup
Ben McLemore, PJ Tucker, Clint Capela, James Harden, Russell Westbrook
Toronto Raptors Preview
Following Kawhi Leonard‘s departure in the offseason, many believed the Raptors would fail to live up to expectations and even fall out of playoff contention. However, that’s not been the case as they have continued from where they left off last time around.
20 games into the new season, Toronto boast a 15-5 record and occupy the third spot in the Eastern Conference Standings.
However, the Raptors saw their seven-game win streak come to a screeching halt last time around when they locked horns with the Miami Heat, and they will be keen to get back on track when they welcome the Rockets to the Scotiabank Arena.
Key Player – Pascal Siakam
Siakam struggled for rhythm against the Heat and was uncharacteristically inefficient on the night, going 5-of-14 from the field. However, that performance was a stark contrast to the rest of his displays this season, as he’s stepped up for the Raptors more often than not.
Siakam is averaging 25.1 points and 8.6 rebounds per game this season while also shooting 38.4% from beyond the arc.
Against a Houston side not renowned for their effort on the defensive end of the floor, Siakam will fancy another big night.
Raptors predicted lineup
Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, Marc Gasol, Fred VanVleet, Kyle Lowry
Rockets vs Raptors Match Prediction
The two teams split their pre-season meetings, with Houston following up a 5-point defeat with a 7-point victory.
Last season, the Rockets swept the defending champions on the back of monster performances from James Harden, which means Toronto will be gunning for revenge in this contest.
Both teams are coming off grueling overtime losses but the fact that the Raptors are playing at home swings things in their favor. With Kyle Lowry back in action, Toronto should have enough firepower to edge this contest.
Where to Watch Rockets vs Nuggets?
The game will be broadcast on NBA TV, TSN4, and AT&T Sportsnet from 7:30 PM (ET). You can live stream the game via NBA League Pass.
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