If not for DeRozan and the Raptors, Harden and the Rockets would be on an 18-game winning streak. Kyle Lowry shot just four of 16 for his nine points but they didn't needed much from him as the Raptors shot 50 percent from the field and 16 of 35 from the three-point line.
Despite their struggles from three-point range, Houston chipped away and knotted the score at 102-102 on a three-pointer by Harden with 2:10 left.
While the win over Houston was huge, the Raps were the first team to clinch a playoff spot because they lead the league in TCB (takin' care of business), with a 29-2 record against the 12 teams now under.500 after beating the Hawks, Pistons and Knicks last week. During this winning streak, those numbers are 114 points per game and 47 percent shooting with an offensive rating of 114.5. Their star point guard will definitely miss Sunday's game at Minnesota.
The highly-regarded Rockets are one of the heavy favorites to capture this season's National Basketball Association championship, and were the first team to win 50 games this season.
In Milwaukee, Khris Middleton led all scorers with 30 points and Giannis Antetokounmpo chipped in 28 points, 10 rebounds and a superb block of Emmanuel Mudiay's lay-up in the third quarter as the Bucks beat the New York Knicks 120-112.More news: HBO Orders Nicole Kidman Limited Series Thriller The Undoing
The Raptors also can extend two more streaks. With the win, Toronto improved to 49-17 overall which keeps them 3.5 games clear of the second-placed Celtics in the Eastern Conference standings. The Nets are 1-14 in those games and Sunday was their fifth loss by at least 20 points. "We didn't have a whole lot of them, but we didn't make them". I think he's locked for it. "They really got after us defensively, and offensively, we couldn't stop them".
The Raptors have managed to stick with their promising backcourt of Lowry and DeMar DeRozan - a tandem that has proven one of the most dynamic in the league in recent years - now sitting atop the East with a comfortable 3.5 game lead over the Boston Celtics.
The Nets are 4-16 when scoring fewer than 100 points and have played 36 games decided by single digits.
Head to head, the Raptors are 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings overall and 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings in Brooklyn. Since the teams met in the postseason, Toronto is 12-2 in the last 14 meetings.