NBA Basketball

119
Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Toronto 20 41 28 30 119
Houston 33 37 26 25 121
121
5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 PM MST8:00 PM EST5:00 UAE (+1)02:0020:00 ET7:00 PM CTNaN:� , January 25, 2019
Toyota Center, Houston, Texas  Attendance: 18,055

Raptors next to experience the Harden show

According to STATS
According to STATS

Toronto Raptors at Houston Rockets

  1. Toronto has won each of its last two road games in Houston after losing nine straight there. The last six meetings overall have been split 3-3, with both teams scoring 100+ points in all six games.
  2. The Raptors' 36-14 mark is the best 50-game start in franchise history, but they are coming off a 110-106 loss at Indiana. Since the start of last season, Toronto is an NBA-best 26-9 (.743) following a loss.
  3. Houston has scored 100+ points in each of its last 20 home games, including 280 points in the last two, the Rockets' most in a two-game home span since February 14-15, 1970 (291). Houston has had 70 and 68 three-point attempts in its last two home games, the two highest totals in a game in NBA history.
  4. Kawhi Leonard has missed the last four games, but Toronto has won three of the four. This season, the Raptors are 11-3 (.786) without Leonard, outscoring their opponents by 10.6 points per game. They are 25-11 (.694) and outscoring their opponents by 3.7 points per game when he plays.
  5. Serge Ibaka has three double-doubles in his last five games after having four total in his first 41 games of the season. During that stretch, Ibaka is 46-for-75 (61.3 percent) on two-pointers and 0-for-10 on three-pointers.
  6. James Harden has scored 55+ points three times this month, the first player to do so in any month since Wilt Chamberlain in January 1963. On Wednesday, Harden scored a franchise-record 61 points and added a season-high 15 rebounds, becoming the first player with 60+ points and 15+ rebounds against the Knicks since Chamberlain's 100-point game on March 2, 1962
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

At some point, Houston Rockets guard James Harden will hit a ceiling, a level where his performance is capped and his statistical dominance plateaus. When that moment arrives is anyone's guess.

Harden continued his scoring binge Wednesday at Madison Square Garden, his 61 points matching former Lakers guard Kobe Bryant for the most scored by a visiting player since the venue was renovated.

That total marked a career high for Harden and also set a franchise standard, extending his otherworldly run that yields nightly alterations to the record books.

The injury-ravaged Rockets (27-20) improved to 6-5 this month with their 114-110 victory over the New York Knicks. They will attempt to end their string of alternating wins and losses throughout January when they host the Toronto Raptors on Friday at Toyota Center.

Harden not only became the first player in league history to attempt 20 free throws and 20 3-pointers in the same game, he became the first player since Shaquille O'Neal on March 6, 2000, to post 60 points and 15 rebounds in the same game.

Harden has produced five 50-point games this season, three over his past five starts, during which he is averaging 52.2 points per game.

Despite this, the Rockets continue to scuffle, needing late-game heroics to stifle the lowly Knicks. Until Houston is whole, with Chris Paul and Clint Capela both available, this is the reality.

Help could be on its way.

Paul practiced Thursday and was upgraded to questionable for Friday's game. Paul has been sidelined for five weeks with a hamstring injury since leaving Houston's Dec. 20 game.

Head coach Mike D'Antoni is putting the decision primarily in the hands of Paul.

"If it's not Friday, it's Sunday (against the Magic)," D'Antoni said. "If it's not Sunday, it's Monday (against the Pelicans). But it's close."

The nine-time All-Star is averaging 15.6 points, eight assists and four rebounds per game in 26 contests this season.

The Rockets are only 3-2 when Harden scores 50 points, and their recent struggles are reflective of just how dependent they have become on his historic scoring.

"We're making it tough on ourselves, and I don't like being in positions like that," said Rockets guard Eric Gordon, who hit the game-winning 3-pointer and forced the turnover that enabled Harden to record his 60th and 61st points. "We shouldn't put ourselves in this position."

The Raptors (36-14) lost Wednesday at Indiana with Kawhi Leonard (rest), OG Anunoby (personal) and Jonas Valanciunas (thumb) all unavailable. The Raptors had won eight of nine games before their 110-106 setback and are a robust 9-3 this month despite the rotation flux.

Even in defeat, the Raptors' quality depth is an asset, with Toronto erasing almost all of a 15-point deficit before ultimately falling to the Pacers. This was accomplished on the second night of a back-to-back, with the Raptors maintaining an exceptional 8-2 mark in such situations.

"You shouldn't ease into any game but I guess it's typical for your body, your energy to be a little low. But you've got to find ways to find it," Raptors guard Danny Green said.

"For us this season we've been pretty decent with back-to-backs, kind of been spoiled with them and done pretty well. Regardless of who's on the floor, we've always had some other bodies come and give us that energy."

--Field Level Media

Updated January 25, 2019

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