Howard on Raptors: 'It's gonna be a good test'
The last game of a three game home stand is Monday night for the Houston Rockets (4-3) when they face the Toronto Raptors (3-4) at 7 p.m. at Toyota Center. After losses to both teams from Los Angeles on Thursday and Saturday, respectively, the Rockets are trying to avoid a three-game home losing streak. They did not lose three consecutive games at home last season.
The Raptors just snapped their own three game losing streak by beating the league’s lone winless team, Utah, 115-91, on Saturday in Toronto. The Raptors have lost three of their four road game thus far this season.
“You can get tricked by their record, thinking they’re not a good team,” Dwight Howard said. “We’ve got to do a good job tonight of hitting first.”
They have not done a good job of “hitting first.” Houston has trailed at the end of the first quarter in five of their seven games. But they have won three of those five games.
Actually the much more telling scenario is they have trailed heading into the fourth quarter three times this year. They’ve lost all three. They have been ahead or tied in the other four games and they’ve won each of those.
“We need a good win. We’ve had some tough losses at home,” Howard said. “Games we should have won and games we didn’t control for four quarters. Hopefully we’ll do that tonight.”
The Raptors lead the NBA in rebound differential, out-rebounding their opponents by more than seven rebounds a game.
“We have to hold them to one shot. We have to do a good job of boxing these guys out,” Howard said.
“We have to be able to play inside out. That’s not just throwing the ball into the post, but it’s our guards attacking the rim, making plays and kicking it out to our 3-point shooters. We have to be able to do that. That’s the best way to beat this team.”
The Rockets and Raptors have split their season series for seven consecutive seasons. The Rockets have won the last six meetings against Toronto at Toyota Center.