Toronto Raptors vs Houston Rockets: Predictions, Odds and Roster Notes

How to Watch

Where: Toyota Center in Houston, TX

When: Friday, January 25th, 8:00 PM EST

How (TV/Radio): ESPN, AT&T Sportsnet – Southwest, TSN | Sportsnet 590 The FAN, 790 AM

Toronto Raptors (Away)

Head Coach: Nick Nurse {All-Time 36-14 | TOR}

The Toronto Raptors maintain themselves as one of the top two teams in the Eastern Conference. Due to game difference alone, they are in second in the East despite having more wins than the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Toronto Raptors have put together a solid run in recent games. They have posted a record of 8-2 in their last ten and are on a ten game win streak at home in Scotiabank Arena. Should the Raptors hold on and gain home court advantage in the playoffs, they will be a difficult team to fell.

The Raptors face another difficult test with the Houston Rockets. While the Rockets have injury problems of their own, the threat that is James Harden will be a key for the Raptors to focus in on. Whether they try to shut him down or let him get what he wants and nobody else, the Raptors will need to keep pace with the Rockets high-octane offence.

Houston Rockets (Home)

Head Coach: Mike D’Antoni {All-Time 601-490 | DEN, PHX, NYK, LAL, HOU}

The Houston Rockets are still a force to be reckoned with in the West, through the efforts of James Harden alone. With so many injuries to key players, Harden is playing as the singular first option for the team and is putting up numbers reminiscent of the legendary Kobe Bryant.

The Rockets have hit a bit of a rough patch as of late. In their last ten matches, the Rockets have posted a record of 5-5. Since a win on January 3rd against the Warriors, the Rockets have alternated wins and losses against both strong and weak teams in the NBA. The Rockets will need to find their focus if they want to take down the league best Toronto Raptors.

The Toronto Raptors will be back to near full strength when they take on the Rockets. With only Jonas Valanciunas left to recover from injury, the weakened Houston Rockets will be in for a difficult challenge. The Raptors are a poor shooting team and packing the paint against them has worked to limit their offensive output. Should the Rockets be able to force the Raptors into tough shots, they could pull one out against the Eastern Conference giants.

What’s At Stake?

The Toronto Raptors and Houston Rockets meet again in an inter-conference matchup. The Houston Rockets maintain a slight lead over the Toronto Raptors in the all-time series, 25-20.

A win for the Toronto Raptors would put them ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference standings for first in the table.

A win for the Houston Rockets would help them hold off the San Antonio Spurs who they are essentially tied with via game difference for fifth in the West.

Questions to answer

Have the Raptors found a gem in Patrick McCaw?

What can Kenneth Faried bring to the Rockets?

We are going to compare the Toronto Raptors and the Houston Rockets in an attempt to see who has the advantage in this matchup.

McCaw has Been a Solid Contributor for the Raptors

It’s been a whirlwind year for Patrick McCaw. When he wasn’t offered a contract by the Golden State Warriors after a scary injury, McCaw bet on himself and sat out for almost eight months before signing with the Cavaliers and subsequently the Toronto Raptors.

The acquisition of McCaw was a curious one for the Toronto Raptors. After developing and building up two-way player and G-League MVP Lorenzo Brown into a full-time player, he was waived in order to make room for McCaw.

Thought as a bit of a project after so much time out, McCaw has shown a deal of versatility in his short time with the Raptors. While his shooting touch hasn’t been on display, he has provided valuable length and athleticism in his short stint. If McCaw can provide some offensive production on top of his defensive work rate, the Raptors may have found a true diamond in the rough.

The Rockets Acquired Faried off Waivers

With Clint Cappella going down for an extended period of time, the Houston Rockets are incredibly short of presence in the paint. Veteran centre Nene is their only true option while forwards Isaiah Hartenstein is too young and Marquese Chriss has failed to impress.

The acquisition of Faried is hopefully a boon to the Rockets front line. In his first game with the Rockets, Faried was effective. He was able to post 13 points and 6 rebounds in a loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Faried offers a similar option Clint Capela for the Houston Rockets on offence. Utilized as a pure pick and roll man, Houston needs to do very little in order to integrate him into the offence. It should be beneficial both ways; Faried can go back to a style of play that benefitted him in Denver while Houston has a serviceable second option until Capela returns.

Toronto Raptors Roster Notes

F OG Anunoby – Out (Personal) – Anunoby was ruled OUT for Tuesday’s (Jan 22) and Wednesday’s (Jan 23) game.

F Kawhi Leonard – Out (Rest) – Leonard was ruled OUT for Tuesday’s (Jan 22) and Wednesday’s (Jan 23) game.

C Jonas Valanciunas – Out (Thumb) – Head coach Nick Nurse said Valanciunas will miss at least another 2 weeks.

Houston Rockets Roster Notes

C Clint Capela – Out (Right Thumb) – The Rockets announced that Capela had successful surgery on his right thump. He’s expected to miss the next 4-6 weeks.

G Brandon Knight – Out (Knee) – Knight has been ruled OUT for Wednesday’s (Jan 23) game.

G Chris Paul – Out (Strained Left Hamstring) – Paul is not expected to return until the end of January, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.

Head-to-Head: Kawhi Leonard vs James Harden

Kawhi Leonard

Small Forward | 6-7, 230lb (201cm, 104kg) | San Diego State | Exp. 8 Years

27.6 PPG | 3.1 APG | 7.9 RPG | 1.9 SPG | 0.5 BPG | 2.0 TOV | .504 FG% | .368 3P%

James Harden

Shooting Guard | 6-5, 220lb (196cm, 99kg) | Arizona State | Exp. 10 Years

35.7 PPG | 8.3 APG | 6.4 RPG | 2.0 SPG | 0.7 BPG | 5.6 TOV | .440 FG% | .378 3P%

Two of the NBA’s absolute best face off when the Toronto Raptors and Houston Rockets meet. Kawhi Leonard is back after a couple of rest days with the Raptors while James Harden continues his streak of carrying the Houston Rockets to victory.

Kawhi Leonard did not appear for the Raptors in their most recent back-to-back, the team cited “Load Management” as the issue. As creative a reason as it is, the Raptors will hope the lack of game time won’t leave Leonard cold as he will be tasked with facing the leagues most capable offensive player.

James Harden is far and away leading the Houston Rockets and the NBA in scoring. As the Rockets supporting cast has failed to support Harden, he has taken it upon himself to carry his team to victory. His approach has worked splendidly to this point for the Rockets, but with the amount of capable wing defenders on the Raptors squad Harden will be forced to create more for his teammates.

Toronto Raptors at Houston Rockets Predictions and Odds

The odds makers have the Toronto Raptors favoured over the Houston Rockets by 3, with an over/under of 110.