Wizards

Calderon's triple-double helps Raptors top Rockets

201212161530558281961-p2.jpeg

Calderon's triple-double helps Raptors top Rockets

TORONTO (AP) Jose Calderon had 18 points, 14 assists, and 10 rebounds and to lead the short-handed Raptors to a 103-96 victory over the Houston Rockets on Sunday, giving the Raptors consecutive wins for the first time in eight long months.

Alan Anderson had 24 points, while DeMar DeRozan added 19 points for the Raptors (6-19), who hadn't won consecutive games since April 13 and 15 of last season.

Ed Davis added 13 points for Toronto.

James Harden scored 28 points for the Rockets (11-12), while Marcus Morris added 19.

The Raptors took a 77-71 lead into the fourth quarter, and stretched their advantage to nine points. But Houston made for some tense moments late in the game, cutting Toronto's lead to four points with a couple of minutes to go.

Former Raptors sharp-shooter Carlos Delfino drained two baskets in the final 1:04 to pull the Rockets to within two points, but Calderon sunk two free throws to put Toronto back up by four.

The teams traded free throws for most of the final minute. Harden, last season's Sixth Man award winner for Oklahoma City, drained a pair, Anderson went to the line to sink two, and then Chandler Parsons missed one of two with 13 seconds left.

Anderson scored on a driving reverse layup with 11 seconds to go to seal the victory for Toronto.

The Rockets have now lost seven straight on the road, a stretch that goes back to Nov. 2. It's their worst road losing streak since they dropped eight straight in 2001.

The Raptors played their third consecutive game without second-and third-leading scorers Andrea Bargnani and Kyle Lowry. Bargnani is out indefinitely with a torn ligament in his right elbow and a strained right wrist, while Lowry has a tear in his right triceps.

Jeremy Lin, who had plenty of fans in the Air Canada Centre crowd cheering him on, was held to just seven points and two assists.

Lin was in the midst of ``Linsanity'' on a previous trip to Toronto last February, draining a three at the buzzer to lead the New York Knicks to a victory over the Raptors.

``If you go on anybody's career and look at it, they're going to have a period where, man, you put up ridiculous numbers,'' Rockets coach Kevin McHale said before the game. ``I think he had one of those periods last year where everybody was, well, jeez, that's what Jeremy Lin is.

``No one in our league is a 27-point, 11-assist guy, even LeBron doesn't do that. He's figuring himself out as a young player, he really is just a young player, this is the first time he's come in and started from training camp on. Jeremy's fine, he's just going to continue to improve.''

NOTES: The Rockets beat Toronto 117-101 last month. . . The Rockets wore a green stripe on their jerseys in memory of McHale's daughter Sasha, who died last month of lupus at the age of 23. Green was her favorite color. . . Raptors rookie Jonas Valanciunas was presented with the Lithuanian player of the year award from Lithuanian legend Arvydas Sabonis before tipoff. . . The Raptors are in Cleveland to face the Cavaliers on Tuesday. They return home to host Detroit on Wednesday and Orlando on Friday.

Quick Links

How the Wizards have taken Raptors big man Serge Ibaka out of the series on offense

How the Wizards have taken Raptors big man Serge Ibaka out of the series on offense

The Wizards-Raptors first round playoff series has evolved to feature the emergence of several players who started off slowly including Bradley Beal, Marcin Gortat and Kelly Oubre, Jr. The opposite has happened for Toronto big man Serge Ibaka.

After Ibaka lit up the Wizards for 23 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks in Game 1, there has been a disappearance. His scoring has gone missing and it's a big reason why the Wizards have won two straight games and earned a 2-2 series split.

Head coach Scott Brooks knows Ibaka well from their days in Oklahoma City. He helped develop Ibaka and has since watched from afar as his game has changed to include a consistent outside game.

Brooks has on several occasions referred to Ibaka as one of the best three-point shooting big men in the league. The numbers back that up. Last season, he shot 39.1 percent from three on 4.0 attempts per game, excellent for a 6-foot-10 power forward.

This season that number dipped to 36 percent, but he hit 41 percent of his threes in his final 16 games of the regular season. That carried over into the playoffs when he went 3-for-4 in Game 1 as part of an 8-for-11 shooting night overall.

The Wizards made a point to take away those outside shots following their series-opening defeat. The way they are doing that is by crowding him when he gets the ball, even if it means him getting past the initial defender.

"You want to make sure you meet him on the catch. You want to take away his shot," Brooks said. "When he gets open shots, they are money. He's going to knock them down... We did a good job of meeting him on his catch and making him put the ball on the floor with his left hand. You can live with the results."

After his 23-point outburst in Game 1, Ibaka has scored just 20 points total in the last three games. He has gone 2-for-6 from three.

The Wizards are taking away his shot attempts in general. He took 11 shots in each of the first two games of this series, but just four in Game 3 and five in Game 4. In Game 3 he had three points and three turnovers and on Sunday he had seven points and four turnovers.

Here are two examples of the Wizards' defense on Ibaka. On this first play, Markieff Morris meets Ibaka as soon as he catches the ball and the result is a turnover:

On this next play, Morris follows Ibaka all the way to the rim and even though he goes up on a pump fake, Morris recovers to alter Ibaka's shot and force a miss:

The Wizards, however, did get away with one against Ibaka. He was left wide open for a three in the final minute, but the shot rimmed out:

As the first two plays demonstrate, Morris deserves a lot of credit for the Wizards' success against Ibaka. He has the size and mobility to keep up with him and is willing to use contact to his advantage.

"Just playing the tendencies," Morris said. "We're making them do things they are uncomfortable with and are getting better results."

Ibaka was fourth on the Raptors this season in points per game and third in shot attempts. He is their third option behind All-Star guards Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. If the Wizards can continue to lock up Ibaka, it will be difficult for the Raptors to beat them.

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE FROM WIZARDS-RAPTORS SERIES:

OUBRE IS HELPING THE WIZARDS WIN IN MANY WAYS

WALL WAS DUNKING ALL OVER RAPTORS BIG MEN

MUST-SEE MOMENTS FROM GAME 4 WIN

Quick Links

Wizards Tipoff podcast: Death Row D.C. and the Wizards are back

usatsi_10801687.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

Wizards Tipoff podcast: Death Row D.C. and the Wizards are back

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes and Chris Miller were joined by Julie Donaldson to break down the Wizards' wins in Games 3 and 4.

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and Marcin Gortat are back and the Wizards are a different team because of it. Plus, how regaining their Death Row D.C. mentality has changed this series.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!