Quick Reaction: Raptors 115, Nets 105

9 mins read

Fun game.

TOR Raptors 115 Final
Box Score
105 BKN Nets

P. Siakam36 MIN, 28 PTS, 10 REB, 5 AST, 0 STL, 11-21 FG, 3-7 3FG, 3-4 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 21 +/-

An objectively bad start that he completely reversed. More missed threes than we’re accustomed to and an 0/5 start, that eventually transformed into him hunting mismatches 4 possessions in a row and scoring on 3 of them was a reminder that regression isn’t always bad. Even when he misses shots like he did early, it’s still evident how important his movement and passing is to the offense. A natural fit next go Gasol, and that tandem can really challenge opposing front-courts in a myriad of ways.

K. Leonard34 MIN, 26 PTS, 9 REB, 3 AST, 0 STL, 11-25 FG, 0-4 3FG, 4-4 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 9 +/-

A glimpse into the overwhelming physicality he can bring in a playoff series. Most teams are happy to allow a team post-ups instead of pick n’ roll or maybe pin-downs and hawk screens, but the Nets looked devastated every time they had to contend with Kawhi on the block. He was dominant on offense, pushing in transition and knocking several Nets around in the post. He also had a LOT of heady passes, and man, it’s exciting to see him sustain that level of play over the full game.

M. Gasol27 MIN, 8 PTS, 9 REB, 6 AST, 4 STL, 3-10 FG, 2-5 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, 9 +/-

Another successful night of him operating as the Raptors offensive conduit. Outside of the dominant Leonard post-ups, it was rare that Gasol didn’t touch the ball on a respective possession. Even when the Raptors offense has to reset, Gasol’s presence above the break as a DHO/screen/playmaking option adds a lot of late-clock potency to the Raptors offense. I still think Ibaka does a better job on Jarrett Allen, but Gasol’s defense was pretty sharp.

K. Lowry33 MIN, 10 PTS, 5 REB, 4 AST, 0 STL, 3-11 FG, 2-7 3FG, 2-2 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 12 +/-

Was happy to hand over the offensive reigns to the barbershop-triplet of Gasol/Siakam/Leonard, and most importantly, the Raptors didn’t need his Midas touch to succeed offensively. Still stepping in for charges, still spacing the floor and still getting away with the cheekiest passes possible. Oh yeah, he’s one of the best players in the league when closing out and it’s vital to the Raptors defense.

D. Green25 MIN, 2 PTS, 2 REB, 3 AST, 3 STL, 1-5 FG, 0-4 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, 8 +/-

The mismatch hunting that became the Raptors offense happened to leave Green out of a lot of the end results, but the same that applied to Lowry works here: Leonard and SIakam need spacing, and clever cutters. Green offers both and even though his numbers are sub-par, his place in the offense remains just as important whether he’s putting up 4 points or 29.

F. VanVleet26 MIN, 7 PTS, 3 REB, 3 AST, 1 STL, 2-8 FG, 2-4 3FG, 1-2 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 2 +/-

Nurse really liked what he was getting from the starters in this one, which minimized VanVleet’s role. Didn’t share the floor with Lowry much, until the end, and his shot-making suffered a little bit, but he took care of the ball and kept it moving on offense. He was really sharp defensively to close out the game.

S. Ibaka24 MIN, 23 PTS, 12 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 8-15 FG, 5-5 3FG, 2-2 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, 1 +/-

It can’t be overstated how important Ibaka’s play of late has been. His play off the bench has allowed a lot of extra rest for the Raptors incumbent stars, and even though it’s tough to do from the big man position, he is lifting up bench units. His Uber-efficient shot-making and remarkably savvy work defending the rim is larger than life next to VanVleet, Powell and co. Tonight he brought it with Gasol leading the offense, Lowry leading the offense, and VanVleet leading the offense. I imagine Nurse envisioned him on the bench to close the game, but he was so good tonight that he couldn’t be taken out. Terrific stuff.

N. Powell12 MIN, 4 PTS, 1 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 2-5 FG, 0-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -2 +/-

Had a bit of trouble navigating around the rim with one of Allen or Davis lurking, but no turnovers is encouraging for Powell and he really does seem to be tightening up his decision making the closer we inch to the playoffs.

J. Lin11 MIN, 2 PTS, 1 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 1-1 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -4 +/-

Had a very small role in this one for the same reason that VanVleet didn’t play many first-half minutes. Nurse opted for Meeks instead of him in the first-half for a spell, which might be telling looking ahead.

J. Meeks11 MIN, 5 PTS, 0 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 2-4 FG, 1-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -6 +/-

No complaints from me. Hit a triple, got out in transition and kept the ball moving. He’ll likely see more games like this where the Raptors need a tiny scoring punch.

Nick Nurse

I’m grading him almost solely on the decision to close with Ibaka instead of Gasol, which was smart. Ibaka had played Allen extremely well to this point in the year and I was surprised he didn’t start (which might be telling about the fluidity going forward). Tailored the offense to the hot-hand repeatedly even as it the guys switched in and out. Adaptable and pretty clever gameplan. Liked the job he did tonight.

Things We Saw

  1. We saw a couple 3/1 pick n’ rolls with Leonard and Lowry, the Gasol/Ibaka front-court, and a variety of re-posts for Leonard and Siakam. We were treated to a variety of offensive styles tonight and it makes me really optimistic for the playoffs.
  2. D-Lo is terrifically fun to watch, man. He makes passes that the viewer doesn’t see available, even with the benefit of the view from above. The variety of shoulder/arm/wrist slots he passes from while maintaining the zip on them is hilarious. The flurry of triples he sank at the end of the game is part of what makes him so entertaining, even in a game where he wasn’t at his best. Siakam for MIP, though.
  3. It’s becoming more and more clear that despite Lowry being the team’s leader, and playing the point guard position, the Raptors are going to win in the playoffs because of their absurd front-court rotation + Leonard. This game was so special to watch because Siakam, Leonard, Gasol and Ibaka all dominated in different ways. What a fun rotation to watch.

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