It was the Raptors, they were missing key players and the Rockets were at home. This season’s greatest challenge it was not, but the Rockets overcame a bad start to topple Toronto 114-105.
Chase Budinger, practically drowning in a brutal slump all season, scored a season-high 22 points on a smoking hot 8-10 from the field, but he was overshadowed.
Rookie Patrick Patterson saw his first significant action, absorbing minutes that became available after Chuck Hayes sprained his ankle in practice, an injury that will keep him out 2-4 weeks.
Patterson was active, ending up with his first career double-double with 15 points on 6-9 shooting to go with 10 boards. He showed touch from midrange, good quickness and nice hops, including a tip slam off a Courtney Lee miss that was one for the highlight reel.
Patterson admitted after the game that he was a little bit nervous, but he was thankful for the veterans on the team that stressed to him to remain calm. He knew he had some shoes to fill.
“I know Chuck is a huge part of this team,” said Patterson of Hayes. “I just wanted to come out and do as best as I could to fill that void whenever my name is called upon. Coaches kept saying, ‘rebound, rebound, Keep doing as much as you can, provide a lot of energy, run up and down the court’ and that’s what I wanted to do.”
Enjoy the highlights and Happy New Year everyone!