The Raptors record the third-biggest comeback in franchise history in victory against the Rockets | CBC Sports

The Toronto Raptors pulled off another close victory as they prepare for the playoffs.

Pascal Siakam had a double-double with 29 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Raptors to a 117-115 victory over the Houston Rockets on Friday.

With the win, Toronto can now finish no lower than fifth in the Eastern Conference with one game left in the regular season.

Gary Trent Jr. had 26 points for Toronto (48-33), while Scottie Barnes added 16 in the win.

The Rockets (20-61) were led by Kevin Porter Jr., who finished with a double-double with 35 points and 10 rebounds.

The Raptors have now won three in a row and are 8-2 in their last 10 games.

WATCH l The Raptors take down the Rockets as Siakam, Trent Jr. lead the way:

Raptors rout Rockets as Siakam, Trent Jr. lead the way

Toronto beats Houston 117-115 for its third straight victory, Pascal Siakam scores 29 points and Gary Trent Jr. adds 26 points. 1:17

Toronto got off to a slow start, dropping as many as 24 points early in the second quarter.

“There wasn’t a lot of movement to try and stop them,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “We allowed a lot of layups and a lot of open 3s.”

However, Toronto was able to cut the deficit and tied the game again several times in the third and fourth quarters.

‘Whenever I see an opportunity, I take it’

A difficult layup by Trent Jr. with just 4.8 seconds left proved to be the game winner, as Toronto’s defense held its ground on Houston’s final possession to secure the win.

“Just whatever the defense gives me,” Trent Jr. said when asked how he approaches the game in the crunch. “Whenever I see an opportunity, take it, be assertive, be confident.”

Trent Jr. and Raptors rookie Barnes combined for 21 points in the fourth quarter with Barnes electrifying the 19,800-strong Scotiabank Arena crowd with a fast-break dunk to put the Raptors up by four with just a minutes to go. followed by Trent Jr.’s game-winning layup just minutes later.

“It’s everything you dream of,” Trent said as he got the ball in his hands with the game on the line. “It’s everything you work for…house was moving, and I can’t wait to see what’s on next week.”

Barnes, who finished strong scoring 12 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter, impressed Nurse with his final effort in the tight game.

“One of the things I always talk about is the competitive drive. Do you want to compete? [Barnes] and Gary have really played the last few quarters,” Nurse said. “It’s all just competitive momentum and I think the timing of the game gets the better of them and they both start competing like heck.”

Although Trent Jr. and Barnes took over in the fourth, it was Siakam’s effort that kept the Raptors within striking distance heading into the crucial final frame. He scored 18 of Toronto’s 57 points in the first half, keeping the game competitive as Houston’s lead increased.

The Rockets got off to a good start, as Toronto struggled on both ends of the floor early in the game. The Rockets shot 65.2 percent from the field in the first quarter, while the Raptors shot just 22.2 percent from their own end.

Fifteen points in the first quarter from Houston guard Porter Jr. lifted the Rockets to a 16-point lead after the first frame.

Toronto began to come alive in the second as they outscored the Rockets in that quarter 37-30 and Siakam scored 14 points in the period.

The Raptors will travel to New York to face the Knicks in their regular season finale on Sunday.

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