Raptors at Rockets game-day Dino-bytes
TORONTO (3-11) at HOUSTON (6-7)
TIPOFF: 8 p.m.
TV: Sportsnet; RADIO: FAN590
Toronto: Jose Calderon Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Dom McGuire, Andrea Bargnani, Jonas Valanciunas; Houston: Jeremy Lin, James Harden, Chandler Parsons, Patrick Patterson, Omar Asik.
Key backups tonight
Toronto: Ed Davis (does Sunday’s energy carry over to Tuesday?), Terrence Ross (can he have an offensive impact); Houston: Marcus Morris (young big man averages about 10 ppg), Toney Douglas (has been struggling from the field).
First meeting this season; Raptors have lost five straight in Houston.
What happened this morning
It’s all about Kyle
As you’d expect, ex-Rocket Kyle Lowry was all the rage at shootaround.
He denies there’s any special motivation tonight going against his old team but what he says and how he acts may be two entirely different things.
Toronto coach Dwane Casey knows this and mentioned this morning how he’ll have to make sure Lowry doesn’t try to do too much too soon.
Who guards Harden?
No one said it out loud but the Raptors are sure to have small forward and solid defender Dom McGuire spend at least a little guarding Houston’s Harden, who averages about 25 points per game.
Can McGuire be successful? Few are on their own, he’ll need help.
The Rockets will wear black patches on jerseys for Sasha McHale, the 23-year-old daughter of coach Kevin McHale, who died on the weekend.
And they will travel as a team to the funeral tomorrow after getting special – and correct – dispensation from the league to detour from their game in Oklahoma City.
They’ll get to Oklahoma City sometime tomorrow afternoon, normally, the league would insist they travel tonight.
No old friends
Ex-Raptor Carlos Delfino is out and injured for the Rockets and the guy Houston got in the Kyle Lowry trade – Gary Forbes – has been released.
Kelvin Sampson, the assistant who is handling Houston’s coaching duties in the absence of Kevin McHale, is an assistant on Jay Triano’s Canadian national team staff.
Houston’s Patrick Patterson is the latest NBA to get an official warning from the league for flopping.
It was an especially egregious performance as this link shows.
Esoteric stat of the day
Raptors swingman DeMar DeRozan is averaging 18.7 points per game this season; he ranks second in scoring among playersfrom the 2009 NBA draft class.
First? Houston’s Harden.