Rockets soar to exhibition victory over Raptors

Shane Battier scored 26 points to lead the visiting Houston Rockets to a 124-112 victory over the Toronto Raptors in exhibition action Thursday night.

The Raptors fell to 2-4, while the Rockets improved to 3-2.

Andrea Bargnani led the Raptors with 16 points, all in the first half. Chris Bosh and Hedo Turkoglu c0ntributed a quiet 13 and nine points respectively.

Toronto was expected to receive a big boost after Turkoglu made his debut Wednesday, but they have now gone 0-2 with all of their starting five players active.

Former Raptor Pops Mensah-Bonsu led the Rockets defensively with five blocks to go along with 17 points and seven rebounds coming off the bench.

The Rockets led 93-89 after three quarters before Battier hit a three to give Houston a seven-point edge early in the fourth.

Battier was red hot, finishing eight-for-nine from beyond the arc, and he made seven straight three-point attempts through the first three quarters.

Houston rode their momentum from the third quarter and went on a 10-4 run three minutes into the final frame. They had trailed by two midway through the third, but picked up the pace and took an 83-78 lead.

Raps fight back

Houston led by seven early in the first, but Toronto caught up and evened the score. Bargnani hit a field goal at the buzzer to give the Raptors a 29-28 lead after 12 minutes.

Toronto used its vision to create a few noteworthy plays in the second frame.

Bargnani faked a three-point attempt from the top of the key and dished it off to backup guard Marco Belinelli, who drove into the lane for the layup to put Toronto up by six.

A few minutes later, Jarrett Jack picked off a pass from Trevor Ariza and sent a no-looker to Amir Johnson, who threw down a monster jam, giving the Raptors a 43-33 edge.

The Raptors led 63-62 after 24 minutes.

They shot 50 per cent from field while the Rockets made 56 per cent of their shots.

Houston took a lot of chances from beyond the arc and made 13 out of 23 three-point attempts.

The Raptors will welcome the Boston Celtics into town on Sunday afternoon.

NOTES: Reggie Evans suffered a left foot sprain in Toronto’s loss to the Boston  on Wednesday. No timetable has been set for his return, but he is likely to miss the remainder of the pre-season.