Whitmore has season-high 25, Sengun adds 24 as Rockets rout Raptors
HOUSTON (AP) — Rookie Cam Whitmore scored a season-high 25 and Alperen Sengun had 24 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists in just three quarters to lead the Houston Rockets to a 135-106 rout of the Toronto Raptors on Friday night.
Houston led by double figures for most of the game and was up by 30 after three, allowing coach Ime Udoka to rest his starters for the entire fourth quarter.
“They're a team that wants to get out in transition but can get hurt on the other end,” Udoka said. “When we got stops and got out and ran the last few games it's been a recipe for success.”
Rockets rookie Amen Thompson, the fourth overall pick in the 2023 draft, also had a season high with 19 points.
Udoka raved about the performance of the two rookies.
“I never really questioned their talent level,” he said. “I think for those guys it’s just the opportunity. I’m happy to see them taking advantage of it.”
“Hopefully this film from tonight is going to be really good film for us to study and to learn from,” Raptors coach Darko Rajakovic said. “Hopefully next game is going to be much better.”
The Raptors went on a 13-4 run, with five points from Quickley, to get within 84-69 with about five minutes left in the third quarter. But Houston scored the next 16 points, highlighted by two 3s from Whitmore, to extend the lead to 100-69 with about a minute left in the quarter.
The Rockets scored 84 points in the paint, which is the most the Raptors have allowed all season.
“They are an athletic team and they have multiple players that can do a really good job of touching the paint,” Rajakovic said. “You've got to be a team in order to stop that. You've got to have all five guys connected to stop that.”
Houston’s Fred VanVleet had 10 points and six assists in the first meeting with his former team. He spent his first seven NBA seasons with the Raptors.
“It was weird but it was kind of playing like a new team,” he said because of all the changes to the Raptors this season. “It wasn’t really like playing against a former team.”
Houston led by seven with about eight minutes left in the first quarter before going on a 10-2 run to make it 32-17 near the end of the quarter. The Rockets didn’t let up in the second and pushed the lead to 66-47 by halftime.
The Rockets were up by 26 with about four minutes left when seldom-used big man Boban Marjanovic entered the game to a huge ovation. The crowd erupted again when he made two free throws about a minute later, and many fans stood and applauded when he added a dunk with about two minutes to go.
Raptors: Visit Oklahoma City on Sunday night.
Rockets: Visit Minnesota on Sunday night.
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