Posted by: Jeremy | December 13, 2009

Gameday: Raptors-Rockets

Is a 12:30 tip too early for Hedo Turkoglu

The Houston Rockets — now that’s a team that Raps could take a page from. Beset by injuries seemingly every season, they always seem to find a way to string it together and field a pretty, pretty, pretty good team. This year, with T-Mac and Yao Ming sidelined, they’ve gotten off to a 13-9 start behind newcomer Trevor Ariza, point guard Aaron Brooks and a handful of unheralded big men. They’re in Toronto to face our boys this afternoon at the ACC — check in at Raptors Republic for all the coverage you could ever ask for.

Ariza, signed to replace Ron Artest over the summer, leads Houston in scoring (17.7) and has become one of the league’s top steal threats with big minutes. Brooks, who stepped in after the Rafer Alston dump at the deadline last season, is also looking like a competent starter in this league, while Luis Scola, Carl Landry and free-throw shooter extraordinaire Chuck Hayes have all helped carry Ming’s load. If McGrady ever gets healthy, the Rockets could sneak up on someone in the Western Conference, much like they did two years ago when they ran off 22 straight without their Chinese big man.

As for the Raps, Jose Calderon isn’t likely to dress after aggravating a hip injury in Friday’s loss to Atlanta, meaning Jarrett Jack will again be asked to carry a big load. Of course, there’s more to winning than that — Andrea Bargnani will have to rebound and defend, Hedo Turkoglu will have had to have gotten out of bed in time for the early tip and Chris Bosh will need to play big, which should be a given since he seems to against every team other than the Hawks.

This one gets underway at 12:30 — in fact, I’m heading down to watch it riiiiight…NOW!


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