Charles Barkley: 'These are not the same Toronto Raptors'

Rockets' James Harden sits out win vs. Mavericks with left knee soreness

And it all started when the Raptors didn't get a Christmas Day game.

Instead of giving credit to the Toronto Raptors, it was reported that Cleveland was in a mid-season funk and having some internal/personnel struggles, including MSN's headline: Can the Cavaliers pull themselves out of their latest mid-season slump?

The Toronto Raptors looked alive during Drake Night at the Air Canada Centre on Friday (March 9), where the team faced off against James Harden's Houston Rockets. But here: it's James Harden.

He made the announcement before the tip-off of the Toronto Raptors' match against the Houston Rockets, which also happened to be on Drake Night.

"Early, we didn't make our open 3s", said Mike D'Antoni to reporters after the game. Rockets [VIDEO] had stayed unbeaten since January 26 and this was the first time in 42 days that the unassailable-looking streak came to an end. This indicates that Rockets are strong contenders for the title this season and it would take some skill to beat the Rockets in the finals that they are nearly certain to reach.

Fortunately, the Blazers defeated the Warriors last night so the Rockets are still the No. 1 seed in the west.

Rockets' James Harden sits out win vs. Mavericks with left knee soreness
Rockets Beat Mavs Without Harden, Clinch Playoff Spot

And ESPN's Max Kellerman put the explanation mark on the statement, stating that Houston's loss to Toronto had nothing to do with the Raptors talent and everything to do with the Rockets' schedule - even stating that the game wouldn't mean anything to Houston. Lowry was 7-of-9 from beyond the arc. James Harden finished with 40 points and four assists.

James Harden scored 40 points but the Rockets lost for the first time since January 27 at New Orleans.

Houston trailed by 15 at halftime and were down by 17 with less than five minutes to play in the third quarter.

Drake's taunting prediction came during the Rockets' worst offensive first quarter of the season. Houston, meanwhile, missed all five of its 3-point attempts in the frame and didn't find its rhythm in the second.

The Raptors defense was at it's absolute best in the first half and did not allow Houston easy three's restricting them to just one three-point shot in the first half and making Rockets work hard to get points from inside the paint. We needed our three-point shooting to pick up.

Houston will go to Dallas on Sunday looking to avoid back-to-back losses, and the Raptors will put their six-game winning streak on the line Sunday when they go to NY.

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