They say “One man’s loss is another man’s gain” and that’s how it works in professional sports in general. With Jonas Valanciunas taking some time off to recover from Draymond Green’s chop, the Raptors recalled Boucher to shore up the team’s frontcourt depth.
For the foreseeable future, Serge Ibaka is the starting centre. Greg Monroe will be the main backup. It’s likely Boucher will only see minutes should there be some foul trouble issues in the front court, or during garbage time — for now. That is until Boucher earns the trust of his coach and his teammates.
In truth, there’s a lot to get excited about with Boucher. Here’s a review of the skills he’s shown in the G League so far that should be transferable — and some things he’ll need to work on.
Winning with defense: Friday’s win over Oklahoma City was the fifth time in the last 10 games that Denver has held an opponent to under 100 points. The Nuggets are 11-1 this season when they’ve kept their opponent under the century mark, a number that ties them with three other teams for the most in the league.
The Nuggets are allowing the third fewest points per game at 103.5 but tonight’s opponent is averaging the fourth most points in the league at 115.8. Denver is second in the league in holding opponents to shoot just 32.2% from three-point range, while Toronto shoots 35.3 from deep.
Next man up: The Nuggets have been plagued by injuries recently but have still found a way to win. After losing Gary Harris and Paul Millsap earlier this month and with Jamal Murray able to play but still banged up, the Nuggets have found success as other players step up into new roles. Monte Morris, Malik Beasley and Trey Lyles have stepped up off the bench and have found themselves making key contributions late in several games. Torrey Craig and Mason Plumlee have stepped into the starting lineup and have provided valuable defense and energy to keep the Nuggets at the top of the Western Conference.
Nikola Jokić doing it all: The Denver big man put on one of his most performances against the Raptors earlier this month as he recorded a triple-double with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 15 assists. Jokić is averaging 21 points, 11.3 rebounds, 9.3 assists and 1.8 steals in the month of December.
Tonight’s game will tip at 6 p.m. MT and will air on Altitude TV and the AltitudeNOW app. Fans can listen on Altitude Radio, 92.5 FM.
Not so long ago, Greg Monroe was considered a prime addition that could enhance pretty much every frontcourt for a contending team, but he finally settled for a 1-year 2.1 million dollar deal with the Toronto Raptors.
Even despite the fact that the Raptors are the best team in the Eastern Conference and arguably the best team in the NBA, he hasn’t been able to contribute the way he would like to. Over 13 appearances, he’s only been on the court for around 7.3 minutes a night, roughly averaging 3.7 points per game.
DID YOU KNOW?
The Nuggets rank second in the league in opponents rebounding average, giving up just 41.4 a night. That could be significant with the Raptors unable to dress Valanciunas, one of their best rebounders … Denver has held opponents under 100 points in 12 of their 28 games and are well schooled in running teams off the three-point line. Opponents shoot just 32.2% from three against Denver, the third-best defensive mark in the NBA … Kitchener native Jamal Murray’s 48 points versus Boston this year is the highest scoring point total for a Canadian-born player in league hisstory. Andrew Wiggins held the old mark of 47 set back in 206-17.
Bradley Beal will undeniably be an incredible addition to the Raptors. He will give the Raptors a very reliable scoring option and an All-Star guard Kyle Lowry has been missing since Toronto traded his best friend, DeMar DeRozan, to the San Antonio Spurs. This season, Beal is averaging 23.1 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 1.0 block, and 1.0 steal on 47.2 percent shooting from the field and 34.0 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
A starting lineup featuring Kyle Lowry, Bradley Beal, Kawhi Leonard, Pascal Siakam, and Serge Ibaka will be a huge headache to any powerhouse teams in the league even to the defending champions, Warriors. The deal will also be beneficial for the Wizards as it will help them remain competitive in the Eastern Conference. However, it is highly likely that the Wizards will demand future draft picks from the Raptors in a potential deal involving Beal.
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Toronto: Kyle Lowry, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Pascal Siakam, Serge Ibaka.
Denver: Jamal Murray, Torrey Craig, Juancho Hernangomez, Nikola Jokic, Mason Plumlee.
Siakam vs. Jokic
Denver big man Nikola Jokic is an NBA unicorn, a freak of nature who is a great passer, fine shooter, huge physical presence and he tore Toronto up (23 points, 15 assists, 11 rebounds) two weeks ago. Pascal Siakam won’t be alone defending him. It’s going to take a handful of players and different looks to keep him in check.
Kawhi Leonard still focused on Los Angeles, which is bad news for Celtics’ rival Raptors originally appeared on nbcsportsboston.com
This doesn’t look good for the Raptors.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski, Kawhi Leonard, a free agent at the end of this season, is still focused on playing in Los Angeles. Whether it’s for the Clippers or the Lakers, Leonard has not changed his desire for the west coast after starting the season 23-8 with the Raptors.