Houston Rockets vs Toronto Raptors game preview

The Rockets’ X factor is Kevin Porter Jr. What makes him so crucial to the Rockets’ chances is how he takes care of the ball. Porter leads the Rockets in turnovers, and as a nominal point guard, he needs to be the first line of defense against the Raptors’ predatory defensive scheme.

If Porter can keep his turnovers below his 3.8 season-per-game average, the Rockets offense will have a fighting chance. The key for him is not to force anything on offense, as the Raptors thrive on generating offense from defense.

The X factor for the Raptors is Christian Koloko. The rookie center has started the last four games and held on, but he’s definitely the weak link in their starting XI. Koloko is massive, listed at 7’1 230 pounds, but he struggled to secure defensive rebounds against starting units. His 15.1% defensive rebound percentage over the last four games is an ominous note from a center.

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If the Rockets are going to upset the Raptors, they’ll probably have to brutalize them on the offensive glass. If Koloko becomes an easy target, the Rockets could swing the possession battle in their favor, which is a losing recipe for the Raptors.

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