Rockets Light Up the Toronto Raptors for 124 Points….
On Thursday night the Rockets travelled up to Toronto to play another preseason game against the Raptors. Apparently the Canadian weather agreed with the Rockets’ shooters because they were on fire from the start, including a fantastic display by Shane Batti-eh?.
Joey Dorsey got the start at center and he played lie he knew what he was doing. In the 1st quarter Dorsey had 7 points on 3 – 4 shooting including a monster dunk off a give-and-go he ran with Trevor Ariza. The only thing more impressive than the dunk was the fact that he made a free throw a minute or so later on an “and 1.” Even though he is little short for a center, he is extremely strong and averaged 15 rebounds per game in the summer league. Dorsey could provide much needed rebounding if he gets minutes this season.
When Dorsey came out of the game, the production from the center spot actually picked up because Pops Mensah-Bonsu had a monster game! Pops mmade an immediate impact with a huge block on Jarrett Jack with :1.5 left in the quarter (2:10 in the video below). That block kept the Rockets within one at 29 – 28 after 1 quarter.
Pops would finish the half with 9 points and 2 blocks but the two-headed center would not outshine the perimeter players for long. Jermaine Taylor had a huge dunk on Andrea Bargnani’s dome in the 2nd quarter (2:40) and followed that with a break-away dunk on the very next possession. With those 3 guys handling everything in the paint, Shane Batti-eh? took care of things from behind the arc. Batti-eh? hit his 1st 7!!!! threes and ended up going 8 of 9 from long-range on his way to 26 points.
As well as the Rockets were playing, the Raptors were still up 63 – 62 at halftime because of 11 turnovers by Houston but the 2nd half would be all Rockets.
Ariza got in on the action and played well with 18 points and 3 treys but there was a play in the 3rd quarter which reminds me that he is going to disappoint a lot of people. With about 2:00 left in the 3rd, Ariza drove fromthe left wing and got blocked by Amir Johnson because he didn’t go strong enough. He tried to lay the ball up with his right hand when it should have been a left-handed finish or a dunk. I couldn’t find a video; sorry about that. I’m hoping that Trevor will become more accustomed to his new role and he will grow more adept at finding ways to score on tough chances.
The Rockets were up 93 – 89 at the start of the 4th and they would not look back. Rick Adelman left Kyle Lowry and Aaron Brooks in the game together for most of the 4th quarter and Pops kept his play up to solidify the win for Houston. Mensah-Bonsu finished with 17 points on 8 of 9 shooting, 7 rebounds and 5 blocked shots. That was a very big game at a crucial time for the guys who are still trying to secure a roster spot.
It seems that the last spot is between Mensah-Bonsu and Will Conroy and, if you read my earlier posts, you know I am not high on Conroy. Pops proved that he deserves the final spot with his performance and the Rockets could really use a defensive presence in the middle.
The final score was 124 – 112 and, other than the 22 turnovers, the Rockets looked strong and efficient.
|Houston Rockets (3-2)|