Fan Duel Toronto Raptors

Quick Reaction: Raptors 103 – Thunder 98

The Toronto Raptors remain unbeaten coming back from a 13 point first quarter and what seemed like the odds against them all evening to beat the Thunder and move to 5-0.

Toronto Raptors103Final
Recap | Box Score
98Oklahoma City Thunder
Luis Scola, PF 19 MIN | 1-6 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -11 +/-Initially he tested his shot to see if the hot streak would carry over from Dallas, but hit on just 1 of 5 early. Watching how he positions himself to grab rebounds it’s logical JV will benefit from his knowledge in this fundamental skill.

DeMarre Carroll, SF 37 MIN | 4-12 FG | 0-1 3FG | 5-5 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 4 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 13 PTS | -4 +/-His cold shooting continues (2 of 8 at the half), yet he provided intangibles 4 rebounds and 3 steals and pulled his tool box out to improve in the second half. HUGE rebound and 2 free throws to put Toronto up by 2 possessions made his poor shooting forgivable.

Jonas Valanciunas, C 29 MIN | 6-9 FG | 0-0 3FG | 5-5 FT | 11 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 17 PTS | +6 +/-One of the few players who had an above average field goal percentage at the half. Although he’s looked better in the revamped defensive schemes, his play early on versus Durant, Ibaka and Adams showcased how far he still needs to grow when facing athletic bigs. Then again he looked much better in the second half highlighting his ability to adapt during games. Loved the move he made on Adams at 7:22 of 3rd.  JV made crucial plays late with a huge rebound at the end of the fourth and nailed his two free throws to tie the game. Based on how aggressively Dallas and OKC  defended him word must have spread regarding his improved play.

Kyle Lowry, PG 34 MIN | 5-14 FG | 3-8 3FG | 4-6 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 5 TO | 17 PTS | +3 +/-His shot wasn’t falling early (then again no one’s was) yet he continued to pressure the ball snaring 2 of the team’s 10 steals at the half. An off night for him in general especially in terms of assists, but hey he’s allowed an off night (to his standards) after what he did in Dallas.

DeMar DeRozan, SG 39 MIN | 7-18 FG | 0-0 3FG | 14-15 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 28 PTS | +2 +/- Cold from the field especially early he continued to drive the paint and get to the line once again registering a 20+ point game. Although he can fall into the tendency of iso ball he’s better this season moving the ball. Also of note, his defense is much improved warranting a mention. With 43 seconds on the clock he got the go ahead basket AND grabbed the rebound off the missed shot by Westbrook to tie the game.

Patrick Patterson, PF 23 MIN | 3-5 FG | 1-2 3FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | +3 +/-It seemed like he wasn’t doing much, but he was active defensively (though more boards would be nice). He filled up all aspects of the stat sheet and scored 2 big shots to keep the Raps close in the 4th.

Bismack Biyombo, PF 19 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 3FG | 3-6 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | -1 +/-While his offensive skills are lacking, you can’t help but cheer his compete level. He was the leading Raptor scorer half way through the second. Whether it’s a product of teams slacking off him or his ability to present himself in the paint for easy scoring opportunities it punctuates his no quit mentality.

Terrence Ross, SF 14 MIN | 1-4 FG | 1-3 3FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 3 PTS | +5 +/-Regardless if you agree with his contract extension this role suits him. He’s already made more drives to the basket in 5 games than all of last season. His passing in close is better and so far he seems to be making an effort on defense. Is he leaps and bounds better, no, but he’s better. Still, this was not a good night for him.

Cory Joseph, PG 26 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-0 3FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | +22 +/-Joseph was the catalyst that changed the momentum in the second quarter. He hit the shot that put the Raptors up by one and boasted a team high plus +10 at the half. Recalling how well Lowry and Vasquez played in their first season the pairing of Joseph with Lowry feels like it will surpass that and become a factor as the season continues. He was the difference maker on the court keeping the Raptors in it..

Dwane Casey
Given the quality of the team they were playing he seemed to make the right substitutions at the right time. Playing on the second night of a back to back versus a team who’ll arguably be tops in the West and doing what was necessary to win after scoring only 13 points in the first quarter was big.

Five Things We Saw

  1. It was clear from the tip the Thunder were intent on bringing a better defense than their current rank of 21st. Then again the Raptors couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn in the opening frame facing the length of OKC and on tired legs.By quarter end the Raptors were lucky to have shot 20.8% while the Thunder shot 55% and oh yeah Russell Westbrook had 8 assists!
  2. Fortunately the second quarter offered a look at why the Thunder’s defense ranks so low when Enes Kanter and Dion Waiters took to the court. Credit the Raptors bench for getting them back in it. Remarkably the Raptors took a one point lead into the lockers and increased their field goal percentage to 35% while lowering the Thunders by 10 (44.4%).
  3. The best quote of the early season came from Denver Nugget coach Mike Malone who said: “it’s like Noah’s ark, they have 2 of everything” in reference of the Thunder’s depth.
  4. The teams stayed true to their early season personalities. The Raptors rank 4th for steals with 9.8 per game had 14 tonight. The Thunder rank 2nd in rebounding with 53 per game had 41 and 1st in blocks with 8 per game had 10. Notably OKC was +10 on the boards through 3 quarters but the Raptors took the battle at the end 45-41
  5. By night’s end Raptors rank 5th offensively, 7th defensively, have the 3rd best net rating and won against a team who was rested on the second night of a back to back …. Raptors found a way to win and are 5-0. I’m IMPRESSED!