Achiuwa, Anunoby score 17 apiece in Raptors' easy 107-92 win over Rockets

·3 min read

TORONTO — Precious Achiuwa and OG Anunoby each scored 17 points to lead the Toronto Raptors to a stress-free pre-season win against the Houston Rockets on Monday.

Achiuwa and Anunoby played just 19 and 17 minutes, respectively, but led the way offensively in the Raptors' 107-92 victory at Scotiabank Arena.

Achiuwa also grabbed a team-high five rebounds as he hopes to land a starting spot while Pascal Siakam continues to recover from off-season shoulder surgery. Siakam expects to return next month.

The 22-year-old Achiuwa was acquired by the Raptors with guard Goran Dragic in the sign and trade for Kyle Lowry with the Miami Heat on Aug. 6th. Achiuwa averaged only 12.1 minutes and five points a game in his rookie season last year.

Toronto's Malachi Flynn added 15 points, including three three-point jumpers, while rookie Scottie Barnes and Svi Mykhailiuk chipped in 10 points apiece. Armoni Brooks led the way for Houston with 15 points.

Spearheaded by Anunoby, the Raptors started swiftly. They were ahead 9-0 less than two minutes in, resulting in a timeout from Rockets head coach Stephen Silas.

After the first quarter, the Raptors enjoyed a 28-19 advantage, with Anunoby chipping in 12 points.

Centre Khem Birch made his first appearance of the pre-season for Toronto midway through the opening quarter.

Birch and his wife and daughter tested positive for COVID-19 when they arrived in Toronto on Sept. 18. The 29-year-old from Montreal was fully vaccinated.

He played in short stints throughout the outing against Houston but picked up two early fouls.

Birch finished with two points. He missed a pair of foul shots in the first half's final minute, but he did convert a short jumper in a 15-2 run that pushed the Raptors in front 55-32 run with 3:18 to play in the second quarter.

Guard Dalano Banton came off the bench to score seven points in the impressive Raptors' run, including a three-pointer to narrowly beat a shot-clock violation.

The Raptors enjoyed a 57-38 lead at halftime. However, Toronto wasn't sharp from the field, going 23-for-48, including 7-for- 20 in three-point attempts.

For the third straight quarter, the Raptors started strongly with their starters on the floor, building up a 76-54 lead. Then, they enjoyed an 88-64 advantage after three-quarters, thanks to a buzzer-beating long three-pointer from Flynn.

The Rockets finished last in the overall standings last year with a dismal 17-55 record and with 10 fewer wins than the Raptors managed.

Toronto head coach Nick Nurse elected to sit out Dragic. Instead, he will play in the Raptors' fifth and final pre-season game against the Washington Wizards on Tuesday.

Starters Fred VanVleet and Anunoby likely will get the evening off against the Wizards. The Raptors season opener is slated for Scotiabank Arena against the Wizards on Oct. 20.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 11, 2021.

Tim Wharnsby, The Canadian Press

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting