Kyle Lowry scored 30 points and the Toronto Raptors survived a furious rally by the Houston Rockets in claiming a 108-105 win on Friday at Air Canada Centre, sweeping the season series and ending the Rockets’ 17-game winning streak.
DeMar DeRozan answered a game-tying 3-pointer by Rockets guard James Harden with a difficult turnaround jumper over Harden to reclaim the lead with 1:49 left. Lowry and Jonas Valanciunas followed with two free throws each sandwiched around an Eric Gordon trey.
The Rockets trailed by as many as 19 points. But Houston shot just 9 of 27 on 3s; Lowry alone finished 7 for 9 from behind the arc.
Harden led Houston with 40 points. DeRozan scored 23 for Toronto while Valanciunas paired 14 points with 10 rebounds. Gordon and Chris Paul scored 14 each for Houston but shot a combined 10 for 27.
The second half had been a series of Rockets runs to within a manageable margin only for Toronto to rally back. Harden missed a corner 3 that would have sliced the deficit to five early in the third quarter only for Serge Ibaka to respond with a 3-pointer and a 64-53 Toronto lead.
With just over a minute left in the third, Joe Johnson missed an open 3 from the top of the key with the Rockets trailing 78-73. On the opposite end, DeRozan drilled his 3-point attempt.
And with the deficit at four early in the fourth, Gordon committed a turnover that C.J. Miles converted into a 3. It wasn’t until the Harden 3 that Houston finally pulled even, albeit briefly.
The Raptors established a double-digit lead in a flash, as Lowry made his first five shots while Valanciunas bludgeoned his way to points in the paint.
The Raptors sank 4 of 6 shots from behind the arc in the first period. Houston, meanwhile, missed all five of its 3-point attempts in the frame and didn’t find its rhythm in the second.
By the half, the Rockets were just 1 of 9 on 3s. And when Houston mounted a bit of a push, slicing a 19-point deficit to 44-31 on a Clint Capela alley-oop dunk, Toronto responded by converting consecutive offensive rebounds to reclaim a 54-35 lead on a DeRozan 3-pointer.
—Field Level Media