After calling the Raptors "the greatest team in the land", Drake also predicted that his squad would end the Rockets' 17-game winning run. DeMar DeRozan retook the lead on Toronto's next possession, 104-102.
DWANE CASEY, Toronto coach, on Kyle Lowry inspiring the team with 13 first quarter points.
Chris Paul finished with 14 points for Houston but missed a go-ahead three-pointer with 14.5 seconds to play. The Toronto Raptors host the Houston Rockets in the premier game of the National Basketball Association schedule on Friday.
Houston had its worst first-quarter scoring output (16 points) and field goal percentage (28.6 on 6-of-21 shooting).
The Rockets finally got going in the second half, with James Harden at the helm of their attacks. Eric Gordon brought Houston back within one with a 30-foot three-pointer. But Houston shot just 9 of 27 on 3s; Lowry alone finished 7 for 9 from behind the arc. DeRozan drilled a baseline turnaround over James Harden, his former AAU teammate, immediately after a Harden 3-pointer tied the score with a little more than two minutes remaining. Kevin Durant led Golden State with 40 points. But he didn't get much help from the rest of the team.
Darius Miller scored 20 points and Cheick Diallo a season-high 14 for the Pelicans, who hope to have Davis back for their next game against Utah.
"We shouldn't have even given him the opportunity to get the shot off, but it worked out", said Lowry, who said the Raptors must find a way to maintain the level they showed in the first quarter throughout the game. A large reason Toronto is first in the east is their bench that has been able to take advantage of other team's second units. This indicates that Rockets are strong contenders for the title this season and it would take some skill to beat the Rockets in the finals that they are nearly certain to reach. But Friday night they attempted just 27 and made only nine. However, heading into the game, Raptors fans had a sour taste in their mouths and it seemed like Houston had a built-in excuse if they came up short after Jalen Rose said that a Rockets loss would be chalked up to a "scheduling loss".
As it turns out, the Raptors are proving you don't have to blow everything up to make a meaningful change. "Our defense wasn't aggressive enough early".
Houston will go to Dallas on Sunday looking to avoid back-to-back losses, and the Raptors will put their six-game winning streak on the line Sunday when they go to NY.
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