HOUSTON—High-scoring DeMar DeRozan knows he’s going to start getting some new looks and will have to find ways to make an impact when defences are focusing on him.
Last night, he found that opening in the third quarter—scoring 21 of his 24 points in the period to help the Toronto Raptors beat the Houston Rockets 115-102 to snap a two-game skid.
DeRozan ranks second in the NBA behind Russell Westbrook by averaging 30.5 points a game.
He discussed the adjustments he made after scoring just three points in the first half.
“Just be aggressive. Just take it from how they were playing me,” he said.
“I was trying to be a passer, get everybody else involved. Pick them apart,” he noted.
“Just me understanding that teams are going to play me differently than they would have a week ago,” DeRozan added.
“Just me being more conscious of that and picking and choosing my spot.
Raptors avoided losing three in a row for the first time since last November, and also ended a nine-game losing streak in Houston.
James Harden had 29 points and 15 assists for Houston but also had 12 turnovers.
The Rockets lost for the first time in four games.
Houston trailed by 15 entering the third quarter before using a 9-2 run to open the second half and get to 56-48.
That run was powered by a pair of three-pointers by Trevor Ariza and a third by Patrick Beverley.
But DeRozan got hot soon after that—scoring all of Toronto’s points in an 11-7 run that extended the Raptors’ lead to 72-57 midway through the third.
DeRozan had a two-handed dunk during that stretch and capped it with a three-pointer.
He made 8-of-12 shots in that period, including both of his three-point attempts, and also had four assists and three rebounds in the frame.
He finished with nine assists, five rebounds, and two steals.
“When you’re down [big] at halftime and he has not done anything, you know you might be in a little bit of trouble because he’s going to do something,” Houston coach Mike D’Antoni said of DeRozan.
“He’s that good of a player.”
The Rockets had a season-high 28 turnovers after averaging just 13.1 in their previous seven games.
The Raptors converted those miscues into 33 points.
“I just think we didn’t make characteristic plays,” Ryan Anderson said. “We didn’t play like we really have been.
“I don’t know what the reason was but . . . we were just a little flat,” he noted.
The Raptors next visit Milwaukee tomorrow night.