Houston Rockets vs Toronto Raptors: Lineups, preview & prediction 3/9/18

The Houston Rockets put their 17-game winning streak on the line in a potential NBA Finals preview Friday night when they face the Toronto Raptors.

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(Photo credit: Keith Allison)

The Rockets have the best record in the NBA at 51-13 and have a one-game lead over the Golden State Warriors for the top seed in the Western Conference. They have made up five games on the Warriors during their 17-game winning streak, the second-longest in franchise history behind their record 22-game run in the 2007/08 season.

Houston have recorded ten of those 17 consecutive victories on the road and are 2-0 on their current four-game road swing after a 110-99 victory at Milwaukee on Wednesday night. James Harden scored 14 of his 26 points in the final 3:42 of the first half to give the Rockets a 12-point halftime lead and Chris Paul had four of his 16 in a 16-second span of the final minute of the game to keep the Bucks at bay.

While Houston have ran the table since January 26, Toronto (47-17) have not been slacking during that span, winning 15 of 18 to grab the top seed in the Eastern Conference. The Raptors became the first NBA team to clinch a playoff berth Wednesday night, rallying from a 17-point deficit in the first half to beat the Detroit Pistons 121-119 on the road in overtime for their sixth win in a row.

DeMar DeRozan topped 40 points for the fourth time this season, finishing with 42, but it was his assist in the final second that led to the winning shot as Fred VanVleet drilled a go-ahead jumper from the left corner. Norman Powell added 17 points as he reached double figures for the first time since February 2 and had his highest-scoring game since a season-high 19 against Washington on November 5.

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