Quick Reaction

Quick Reaction: Rockets 107, Raptors 95

HOU Rockets 107 Final
Box Score
95 TOR Raptors

A+
P. Siakam38 MIN, 17 PTS, 10 REB, 3 AST, 0 STL, 7-12 FG, 2-4 3FG, 1-4 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, 11 +/-

The best stretch of basketball the Raptors played tonight was pretty much entirely due to Pascal’s brilliance. In the third quarter, he was the best player on the floor, period, and the Raptors briefly took the lead. Needed to have the ball in his hands more often, especially when he was out there with the bench lineups.

B+
K. Leonard36 MIN, 26 PTS, 6 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 10-22 FG, 1-4 3FG, 5-5 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 10 +/-

Kawhi was fine tonight. Sometimes even better than fine, offensively. But he needed to be better than that, especially defensively, where the Raptors kept him on easier assignments most of the night instead of matching him up with Harden.

A
S. Ibaka30 MIN, 10 PTS, 15 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 4-7 FG, 0-0 3FG, 2-3 FT, 5 BLK, 2 TO, 18 +/-

Really nice game from Ibaka at the defensive end, where he was big in the third quarter run, and he did enough offensively. Playing with the starters makes life easier for either Raptors center, and Ibaka gave them what they needed tonight.

C
K. Lowry42 MIN, 8 PTS, 6 REB, 6 AST, 0 STL, 4-16 FG, 0-5 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 5 TO, -5 +/-

It’s night-and-day how Kyle plays, depending on the center out there. When he’s there with Ibaka, he can generate good shots for others but struggles to get his own shots, and Nurse really didn’t give him many minutes with Gasol tonight when he needed that big man to open up his space. Still, Lowry has to be better offensively.

B-
D. Green32 MIN, 14 PTS, 4 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 4-12 FG, 4-12 3FG, 2-2 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 19 +/-

Green gave the Raptors some solid defense, but missed a lot of shots during the late fourth quarter when the Raptors had chances to get back into this one.

C-
M. Gasol18 MIN, 8 PTS, 1 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 3-5 FG, 0-1 3FG, 2-2 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -30 +/-

The bad is that Marc struggled to rebound, and really had a hard time at both ends of the floor tonight. However, the caveat on this grade is that anyone would’ve struggled with his spot in the rotation tonight. He barely played with the Raptors’ better offensive players, and the bench guards weren’t involving him enough or in the right places for him to get rolling. He got left out to dry.

C
O. Anunoby14 MIN, 3 PTS, 1 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 1-2 FG, 1-2 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -30 +/-

I don’t really know what OG is supposed to do on the floor when Lin and Norm are monopolizing the bench offense like they did tonight. He wasn’t really involved, and although he worked hard defensively, he doesn’t bring much to the table offensively without someone else making the defense work.

D
J. Lin11 MIN, 2 PTS, 2 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 1-5 FG, 0-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 3 TO, -22 +/-

It’s been a rough stretch for Lin, not just tonight. He’s forcing a lot of bad offense, and not finding much success anywhere, while struggling defensively. Until Fred VanVleet is back, he simply has to be better.

C
P. McCaw10 MIN, 3 PTS, 0 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 1-1 FG, 1-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -15 +/-

Much of the comments for OG applies for McCaw as well. Really didn’t have much of an opportunity to contribute.

D
N. Powell10 MIN, 4 PTS, 1 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 2-6 FG, 0-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -16 +/-

Norm can’t be using as many offensive possessions as he did tonight to create this little on the offensive end.

C+
Nick Nurse

The good news is, Nurse made some really solid third quarter adjustments, that generated a run to give the Raptors a second half lead. The bad is pretty much everything else. There is a lot of evidence that bench minutes with Lin, Powell, and either McCaw or Anunoby out there will be lost minutes for the Raptors, and yet Nurse went to that in the first and second halves, and the Rockets built huge runs off those minutes both times. The Raptors will continue to lose this minutes if they continue to choose them.

Things We Saw

  1. The bench is a mess for the Raptors. It’s not clear it’s fixable. The solution is probably staggering the starters and going to a shorter bench, and it’s something the Raptors might want to choose sooner rather than later. The way they’re doing things now isn’t even saving the starters from playing huge minutes, it’s just making those minutes harder.
  2. Pascal Siakam is a star. He was the best player on the court in the third quarter, while Kawhi Leonard, James Harden, Chris Paul, and Kyle Lowry were out there. Continues to grow in leaps and bounds, and continues to impress.
  3. The Raptors are their own worst enemy. Most of their problems are internal, not imposed by other teams. Tonight it was poor rotational decisions and a lack of energy to open the game.
  4. Kyle Lowry and Kawhi Leonard both have shot considerably better, since the trade deadline, with Marc Gasol on the floor than with Serge Ibaka on the floor. The starters weren’t the problem tonight, but they weren’t enough of a solution either, and the bench was still a mess with Gasol. It’s time to start the guy who makes the Raptors’ best players better, and avoid full bench lineups to fix that problem.
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