NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, March 1st (All times eastern)
Toronto Raptors (31-27) at Houston Rockets (29-29), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - It's expected that Toronto Raptors star Chris Bosh will opt out of his contract after this season and test the free agency market.
Life without Bosh isn't a scenario most north of the border want to contemplate but they have gotten a taste of it over the last five games thanks to a sprained left ankle. Bosh, who leads the team in scoring (24.5 ppg) and rebounding (11.4 rpg), is listed as day-to-day and could miss another contest tonight when the reeling Raptors visit the Houston Rockets.
Toronto was able to take advantage of a pair of last-place teams, New Jersey and Washington, in its first two contests without its All-Star but has now dropped three in a row, the latest a 119-99 blowout at the hands of Oklahoma City last night. Kevin Durant scored 29 points to lead the Thunder in the rout at the Ford Center.
Andrea Bargnani and Sonny Weems each netted 14 points for the Raptors while rookie DeMar DeRozan donated 13 points and seven boards in defeat.
"[Bosh] being out of the lineup is a big thing," Raptors head coach Jay Triano said of the team's recent struggles. "A lot of our offense runs through him."
Bosh did not travel with the team to Oklahoma City but has yet to be ruled out for tonight's game.
The Rockets, meanwhile, are coming off a blowout loss of their own on Saturday in Salt Lake City. Deron Williams scored 20 of his 35 points in the first quarter while dishing out 13 assists and pulling down seven rebounds in that one, as the Utah Jazz cruised past Houston, 133-110.
Kevin Martin finished with 32 points off the bench for the Rockets, who have dropped seven of their last nine games and are now four games behind Portland for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Aaron Brooks had 19 points and five assists while rookie Chase Budinger added 14 points and five boards for Houston, which shot 44.3 percent from the floor.
"Just a very poor defensive effort. I think they just took it to us," Rockets head coach Rick Adelman said. "We weren't mentally tough enough to guard their cuts. Deron Williams really got them going, he was making a lot of shots. He made every shot he took it seemed like."
Toronto is hoping to sweep the home-and-home season series with the Rockets for the first time since 2005-06, but the Raptors are just 3-11 all-time in Houston.
03/01 10:36:27 ET