Quick Reaction

Quick Reaction: Raptors 93, Magic 86

Toronto 93 Final
Box Score
86 Orlando

C
S. Ibaka28 MIN, 13 PTS, 6 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 5-11 FG, 2-4 3FG, 1-1 FT, 2 BLK, 1 TO, -7 +/-

There were a lot of jokes on Twitter about Ibaka also resting here even as he was on the floor, and it’s fairly plain he could use a breather. There were a few fine moments – he hit some shots, blocked a Gordon drive and a Hezonja post-up, drove hard into Vucevic for a finish – but it was underwhelming overall. If he plays, tomorrow will be an interesting, if unrepresentative, test.

D+
O. Anunoby14 MIN, 0 PTS, 2 REB, 0 AST, 1 STL, 0-2 FG, 0-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -11 +/-

Looked fairly hesitant offensively, miscommunicated with Miller a couple of times, was slow getting back, and was even back-cut by Isaac reading an action poorly. Like with Miller, the setup maybe wasn’t ideal, but the Raptors have to hope he find a groove soon.

B+
J. Valanciunas19 MIN, 9 PTS, 8 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 4-8 FG, 0-2 3FG, 1-4 FT, 1 BLK, 1 TO, -6 +/-

Had an excellent start to the game, defending Vucevic well in the post and in a bit of space, taking it to him with a hook shot and a sweeping hook, forced a turnover denying entry, and even initiated and found a flaring Lowry for a three. The struggles in the third didn’t have much to do with him, and he probably would have closed had that mish-mash unit not run with things.

A
K. Lowry37 MIN, 25 PTS, 5 REB, 8 AST, 0 STL, 9-17 FG, 7-13 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 4 TO, 11 +/-

It was basically just him and Valanciunas in the first and just him alone in the second. Outside of a really rough third, it was nearly a KLOE performance, dotted with a ton of heady plays, fouls drawn, timely threes, and savvy dumps and lobs. The final line tells the tale pretty well in this instance. Really good stuff with his partner out.

D+
M. Miller8 MIN, 0 PTS, 0 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 0-0 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -1 +/-

Had a couple of miscommunications with Anunoby on offense and picking up in transition, and it made for a very short night. The leash in these situations is small, and even if the situation wasn’t ideal, this was probably the worst of his starts.

A-
D. Wright28 MIN, 10 PTS, 5 REB, 4 AST, 1 STL, 3-6 FG, 0-2 3FG, 4-6 FT, 1 BLK, 1 TO, 12 +/-

Tried his best Lowry/VanVleet impression defending Vucevic on a switch and was all over the place tipping balls and forcing turnovers all night. Pushed well in transition, showed no fear of Biyombo driving right at him and using a little hesitation to keep him off-beat. Still looks better with an extra PG out there to help him out, but he’s had two nice games with VanVleet down.

C-
C. Miles21 MIN, 3 PTS, 4 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 1-9 FG, 1-7 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 6 +/-

The shot just wasn’t there tonight, and the second unit struggles so much to score on those nights. It’s hard to hang that just on Miles, and he had some nice plays trying to create for others since he was getting so much attention. The bench offense is just going to go as he goes.

A-
P. Siakam20 MIN, 8 PTS, 7 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 3-9 FG, 1-2 3FG, 1-2 FT, 1 BLK, 3 TO, 14 +/-

There were some beautiful Siakam moments in this one, none better than when he blocked a shot at the rim and then saved it inbounds. He attacked closeouts well but struggled to finish, got blocked a couple of times (even in transition) but stayed aggressive, and used his transition speed to create for others as well as himself (he had one catch-and-kick to Powell that was great). Helped close the game out, too, with strong defense and an emphatic baseline cut for a dunk.

B
L. Brown19 MIN, 7 PTS, 0 REB, 0 AST, 1 STL, 2-4 FG, 1-1 3FG, 2-2 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 23 +/-

Got a look in the second because another creator was needed. That didn’t work out, but he came through with a big three (he actually shot!). Was firmly in the rotation in the second half, making a nice late-clock dump-off to Nogueira and swallowing another late-clock grenade with a tough mid-range shot. Wasn’t at all flashy, but a plus-23 is a plus-23. He has Casey’s trust as a safe emergency PG, but he’ll probably be back with the 905 shortly.

C
N. Powell18 MIN, 10 PTS, 2 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 4-7 FG, 2-4 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 3 TO, -19 +/-

The first half was encouraging offensively, with Powell decisively shooting threes and driving left into the middle for the finish at the rim. He even got a friendly whistle on a wild drive into traffic. The start in the second half didn’t work out, as he had two quick turnovers and wasn’t heard from until the final seconds. The team-worst plus-minus maybe isn’t fair, even if it’s a season-long trend. I’m running out of answers here, but at least he’s looked somewhat comfortable offensively with the bench.

A
L. Nogueira17 MIN, 4 PTS, 4 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 2-2 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-2 FT, 2 BLK, 0 TO, 16 +/-

It’s not at all surprising when Nogueira comes in unexpectedly and delivers good minutes. Outside of garbage time, he remains quite useful in the right matchups, and he provided a serious spark here. Credit for being ready to play 17 minutes straight after not playing even 10 minutes for two months. One small complaint: You can’t pass up a layup when the shot clock is about to expire. Otherwise, excellent work here.

C-
J. Poeltl11 MIN, 4 PTS, 2 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 2-2 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -3 +/-

His rough stretch continues, and while I understand there’s an argument for letting him play through it since he’ll be needed in the playoffs – or just getting him a night off (he’s the only Raptor to play every game) – I understand the move to Nogueira in the second have. There should be ample confidence he bounces back soon.

C+
Dwane Casey

It was a tough one as Casey looked to find groups that would work with no DeRozan or VanVleet. Some of the choices were a little curious (Ibaka played LONG stretches), but he kept tweaking, eventually finding groups that worked for the 4th. Starting Miller wasn’t a disaster but made things tough on offense, while inserting Powell there in the 2nd half worked out even worse. The quick hooks, the 12-man rotation, getting DeRozan rest, finding something that worked eventually…he did what he could with the situation.

Things We Saw

  1. SUMMARY: The Raptors were shaky out of the gate, the inexperience and unfamiliarity of the DeRozan-less starting lineup showing pretty starkly. Lowry playing KLOE in the first half helped, although they probably shouldn’t have needed that to keep Shelvin Mack from pulling away. Two big Raptor runs in the first half had them ahead one at the half, then they turned in a dud of a third quarter. The fourth-quarter defense was excellent, though – Orlando went seven minutes without a field goal, and the Raptors slowly came back and then pulled away. It was fairly similar to their last meeting, just with different pieces.
  2. QUICKLY:Tracy McGrady was inducted into the Magic Hall of Fame. No word on when Shelvin Mack will join him…Master P and Lil Romeo was at the game and somehow now look the same age…Biyombo’s interactions with his former teammates are always charming, including him and Valanciunas making faces at each other during free throws. The post-game hugs and smiles with Terrence are great, too.
  3. NUMBERS: The big problems in the first half were the defensive glass and the transition defense. Aaron Gordon was throwing down so many transition dunks that Lowry was full on screaming and pointing as they were happening and nobody picked him up. They finished with a 90.7 D-Rating and a 45.5 mark in the 4th (they remain the best 4th-quarter defense in the league). The Magic are very bad, by the way…It wasn’t as pretty offensively with just 19 assists and 17 turnovers, but they at least hit 14-of-36 (39%) on threes.
  4. TIRED: The team looked pretty exhausted, so it’s good that they’ve found windows to get Lowry and DeRozan some rest. A back-to-back tomorrow – their 10th game in 16 days – will be a tough test in terms of fatigue. That 1-game-in-5-days stretch late this month can’t come soon enough…the Raptors still haven’t lost to a bad team since Dec. 26 or lost two in a row since January. They’ve also won 9 in a row on the road (and 24 total, tying a franchise record)…7 of the next 8 games are against teams above .500.
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