Toronto Raptors: Lowry and DeRozan step up to end Rockets’ win streak


The Toronto Raptors went toe-to-toe with the best team in the NBA, as Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan help end the Houston Rockets’ 17-game win streak.

With the Toronto Raptors’ lead slowly shrinking in the second half, Drake’s bold claim about the Houston Rockets’ win streak being over was in jeopardy.

Luckily for the “6 God”, Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan came ready to play as the North trumped the Rockets 108-105 on Friday night.

Lowry finished with a team-high 30 point,s going 10-for-14 from the field and 7-for-9 from beyond the arc. His partner in crime had 23 points and eight rebounds, including three critical three-pointers throughout the game.

On the other side of the court, James Harden continued to add to his MVP candidacy with 40 points, including four three-pointers. He tried his best to keep his team’s streak alive, but there was only so much he could do.

The 28-year-old shot 68.2 percent from the field, but only made seven trips to the free-throw line.

The big difference in this game, however, had to be the strong start from the Raptors, who held the best offence in the NBA to 16 points in the first quarter. It certainly helped Drake state his case when he addressed the crowd on Drake Night.

Despite Clint Capela leading all players with 13 rebounds, the team’s interior defence was pivotal in limiting chances in the paint. Jonas Valanciunas kept up with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

It was a nervous time when Eric Gordon cut the lead to one with a late three, with under 10 seconds to go. It was up to Valunciunas to make a pair of free throws in order to slow down the late barrage from Houston.

The Raptors did all this without key rotation players in Delon Wright and OG Anunoby, who were unable to suit up with injuries. Norman Powell continued to struggle with his shot going 1-for-6 from the field and missing five shots from beyond the arc, but was able to contribute on the defensive side of the ball.

As Sportsnet‘s Michael Grange wrote in his postgame column, the Rockets earned an appreciation for the way Toronto played:

"“In basketball circles everyone knows who’s good,” said Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni. “And Toronto’s good.”"

Grange also points out that the Rockets were 34-1 with Harden in the lineup, the only other loss was against the Raptors earlier in the season in Houston.

This was a game the Raptors needed after some close contests against the Atlanta Hawks and the Detroit Pistons.

It brought out the best in Lowry and DeRozan and if this what is in store for the playoffs, then Charles Barkley predicting the Finals are coming to Canada is not that far off.

Next: DeMar DeRozan evolving both on and off the court

What did you think about the Toronto Raptors’ win over the Rockets? Does this make them the no-doubt best team in the Eastern Conference and one that could win a championship? Let us know in the comments below.