HOUSTON ROCKETS (50-23) at TORONTO RAPTORS (43-30)



HOUSTON ROCKETS (50-23) at TORONTO RAPTORS (43-30)




Tip-off: Monday, 7:30 p.m. ET
Line: Toronto -1.5, Total: 208


2017-03-30

The Houston Rockets will attempt to extend their winning streak to five games when they head north and take on the Toronto Raptors this Monday night.



The Rockets have continued to be one of the elite teams out west as they have won seven of their past eight contests (6-2 ATS), winning by an average of 7.9 PPG over that period. Three of those victories came on the road as they put up 100+ points in all but two of the outings. They had a tough draw on Sunday when they traveled to Washington as 2-point favorites and came away with a 99-91 win. Six different players hit double-digits in points as they overcame a 19 turnover game with the defense holding the Wizards to 29-of-75 shooting (39percent FG). The Raptors certainly havent been the same since the All-Star break, going 7-13 both SU and ATS, but have been a little better of late with victories in five of their past nine games. The offense has made better than 46percent of their shots in each of the past four contests as they put up 101.8 PPG. An easy opponent came into town on Friday when they hosted the Lakers as 8.5-point favorites and were victorious by a score of 94-83. They held L.A. to a putrid 34.5percent shooting and the only reason it was as close as it was is because Toronto allowed the Lakers to grab 16 offensive rebounds. Houston has managed a solid 23-13 SU (20-15-1 ATS) when playing as the road team and will be facing a Raptors group which is 25-13 SU (16-22 ATS) at Air Canada Centre. This is the second time that these teams have matched up on the year and it was all the Rockets in the first game as they dominated in a 98-76 win as 2-point home favorites. Neither team shot better than 42percent from the floor as they each had 23 turnovers, but Toronto was worse with a mere 24-of-77 shots going in (33percent FG). Trends show that Toronto has gone 8-18 ATS (31percent) after a win by 10 points or more this year as Houston has managed a poor 13-24 ATS record (35percent) in road games after having won five or six of its past seven games in the past two years. The Rockets will be quite thin with all their injuries as C Dwight Howard (Rest), PF Donatas Motiejunas (Back), PG Patrick Beverley (Wrist), PF Terrence Jones (Ribs) and SF Kostas Papanikolaou (Ankle) are all expected to be out while PG Kyle Lowry (Back) is listed as doubtful for the Raptors.



Houston has been a great offensive team for the past few years and is once again as it is putting up 103.4 PPG (6th in league) on 44.1percent shooting (10th-worst in league). On the defensive side of things, the Rockets are letting opponents get 100.1 PPG (16th in league) with 44.1percent of shots going in (10th in league). SG James Harden (27.2 PPG, 7.0 APG, 5.8 RPG, 1.9 SPG) has made just 40.4percent of his shots in the past five contests but is still averaging 28.4 PPG as he made 10 free throws per game. He had a sub-par performance, by his standards, the last time he met Toronto with 20 points on 5-of-12 shooting as he added seven assists, five rebounds and two steals. SF Trevor Ariza (12.6 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 1.9 SPG) has been doing better from the field recently with 47percent of his shots dropping in the month of March but he had just nine points and five rebounds against the Raptors in February. SG Corey Brewer (11.6 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 1.5 SPG) has been vital in this teams success and has hit double-digit points in four of the past five games despite shooting a mere 39percent from the field. He had one of his best performances of the year in the win over Toronto with 26 points, 10 rebounds and five steals.



The Raptors are the best offensive group in the Eastern Conference as they are netting 104.2 PPG (3rd in league) and making 45.4percent of their shots (13th in league). They havent been able to do much on defense, though, with their opposition scoring 101.2 PPG (9th-worst in league) behind 46.1percent shooting (4th-worst in league). SG DeMar DeRozan (19.1 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 1.2 SPG) has been playing a ton of minutes in March (38.2 MPG) but is coming off a 1-for-10 shooting performance with six points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in the win over the Lakers. He was also poor in the loss against Houston earlier in the season with 10 points (4-for-14 FG), three steals and a block. SG Louis Williams (15.1 PPG, 1.1 SPG) has been one of the most explosive offensive bench players this year and has scored 18.3 PPG over the past three outings. He did not play in the one game facing the Rockets this year and had six points with eight assists in a single contest off the bench last season. C Jonas Valanciunas (12.1 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 1.2 BPG) had one of his better recent offensive showings against L.A. with 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting as he added seven rebounds and a block. He had 11 points, seven rebounds and three steals when his team was dismantled in the last matchup with Houston.

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