Kyle Lowry scored 30 points and the Toronto Raptors survived a furious rally by the Houston Rockets in claiming a 108-105 win on Friday at Air Canada Centre, sweeping the season series and ending the Rockets' 17-game winning streak.
Lowry finished with a team-high 30 points going 10-for-14 from the field and 7 for 9 from beyond the arc.
Despite their struggles from 3-point range, Houston chipped away and knotted the score at 102-102 on a 3-pointer by Harden with 2:10 left.
Despite Clint Capela leading all players with 13 rebounds, the team's interior defence was pivotal in limiting chances in the paint. Chris Paul and Eric Gordon each scored 14 points, and Trevor Ariza had 13 as Houston's road winning streak ended at 10. However, heading into the game, Raptors fans had a sour taste in their mouths and it seemed like Houston had a built-in excuse if they came up short after Jalen Rose said that a Rockets loss would be chalked up to a "scheduling loss".
DeRozan put the Raptors back up by two with a jump shot with 1:49 remaining and the Rockets wouldn't get as close again.
The win improved Toronto to an NBA-best 28-5 at home. McCollum added another 3 before Durant got one. A large reason Toronto is first in the east is their bench that has been able to take advantage of other team's second units.
Raptors surely lived up to the hype this season dismantling a strong Rockets unit but what is to be noted is that they did not manage it easily even after taking a 15-point lead in the first half. The Rockets failed to make a single three-point attempt in the first quarter and made just nine on the night.
The NBA's most prolific 3-point shooting team countered with another display of clutch perimeter shooting.
"We didn't match their intensity until late", Paul said. The Raptors beat the Rockets 129-113 in November, Houston's biggest home loss of the season.
James Harden led all scorers in the matchup in Toronto with 40 points as he continues his march towards the MVP Award. "Our defense wasn't aggressive enough early". Houston has won seven straight in the series, its third-longest streak all-time. This version of the Raptors likes to get everyone involved - they ranked seventh in the league with 23.8 assists per game heading into Thursday's play. Jarell Martin contributed 13, while making only five of his 15 shots as Memphis shot 37 percent for the game.