HOUSTON – The Houston Rockets needed a boost after losing four of their last five games.
The struggling and beat-up Toronto Raptors provided just that.
Kevin Martin and Aaron Brooks scored 28 points each in three quarters and the Rockets rolled to a 116-92 win over Toronto on Monday night.
The Rockets led by 32 after three and both teams played mostly reserves the rest of the way.
Houston scored the first five points of the game and never trailed in this one as the Raptors dropped their fourth in a row in their sixth straight game without all-star Chris Bosh.
“We caught a team that was short-handed and we shot well and moved it well,” Rockets coach Rick Adelman said. “We did what we wanted to do. It’s a game that we needed to get, so now we have to try to build on that.”
Bosh did not make the trip as he deals with a sprained left ankle and Jose Calderon missed the game with an elbow injury. Hedo Turkoglu scored four points in 15 minutes in the first half, but did not return after halftime because of a sore ankle.
“Let’s be a little bit realistic, three of our top four players are not playing,” Raptors coach Jay Triano said. “I don’t care who you’re playing against, if three of your top four guys aren’t out there and playing, you’re going to have a hard time winning games.”
Marcus Banks led the Raptors with 15 points and Andrea Bargnani added 14.
Triano saw his team get discouraged early after Houston’s hot start.
“Without Chris and Jose, two big scorers, we’ve got to manufacture points somewhere and I think everybody tried to take it upon themselves and we played selfish basketball,” he said.
Houston opened the second half with a 12-5 run, capped by a three-pointer by Brooks, to extend its lead to 80-52. Banks hit a reverse layup before Martin scored five straight points to make it 85-54.
The Rockets look like they are adjusting to their new lineup with Martin. He and three other players were acquired Feb. 18 in the deal that sent Tracy McGrady to the Knicks.
“I think we are all just getting used to playing with each other,” Brooks said. “I think Kevin has been playing pretty good lately, not only with his shot, but finding people when they’re open.”
Turkoglu was impressed with the way Martin is fitting in with the Rockets.
“They really needed a scoring guy and he will help out a lot on the offensive end,” he said. “They can be an exciting team.”
Chase Budinger made a nifty play when he tipped in an alley-oop from Brooks with his left hand as he fell a few minutes later. He was fouled on the play and made the free throw as Houston’s David Andersen and Toronto’s Antoine Wright got into a shoving match.
Both players were given technicals for the scuffle and Houston had its biggest lead of the night – 93-57.
Andersen added 16 for Houston and Luis Scola had 11 points and eight rebounds.
Turkoglu injured his left ankle after his foot was stepped on during a foul by Jared Jeffries early in the second quarter. He remained on the court for a minute before slowly getting to his feet and making two free throws. He was quickly replaced and taken to the locker room after being examined on the bench.
He had his ankle re-taped and was back on the bench with about six minutes remaining and returned to the game a few seconds later. He finished the half but did not return after halftime.
“It’s a little sore right now,” he said after the game. “It was throbbing and I hope it’s not too bad and I can come back next game. I just couldn’t continue when I was out there.”
Houston led by four after Turkoglu’s free throws before scoring four quick points to push the lead to 43-35. The Rockets had stretched the lead to 10 when Reggie Evans got a foul and a technical when he grabbed and held the hand of Shane Battier as he attempted to go up for a shot. The Rockets hit all three free throws to make it 58-45 about three minutes before halftime.
The Rockets outscored Toronto 10-2 after that to make it 68-47 at halftime.
NOTES: Houston’s 68 first half points are a season high for points in the first half. … Chuck Hayes had a career-high eight assists for the Rockets. … Banks had a season-high in assists and steals with four of each.