Quick Reaction

Quick Reaction: Raptors 130, Thunder 121

TOR Raptors 130 Final
Box Score
121 OKC Thunder

A+
S. Ibaka29 MIN, 15 PTS, 6 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 7-11 FG, 0-0 3FG, 1-2 FT, 0 BLK, 4 TO, -3 +/-

MaFuzzy revenge game! Amidst all the talk of returning faces, Ibaka came out (as he has over the past month) on absolute fire, nailing his first six shots for 13 points. Ibaka set the tone with poetic footwork and deft finishes in the paint, then stepped outside for a couple of his patented jumpers. Ibaka has been the anchor for this team over the past ten games.

A
P. Siakam30 MIN, 21 PTS, 4 REB, 4 AST, 2 STL, 9-15 FG, 1-2 3FG, 2-2 FT, 1 BLK, 3 TO, -1 +/-

What was most impressive about Siakam today was that it didn’t feel as if he was noticeably ‘hot’ at any point. Instead, he scored timely buckets and cruised to an efficient 21 points in just 30 minutes of action. A few of his isolation buckets were in quietly critical moments.

A
M. Gasol32 MIN, 15 PTS, 5 REB, 5 AST, 1 STL, 6-9 FG, 3-4 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 16 +/-

Ah, basketball is fun with multiple facilitators on the team. The improved flow of the Raptors offence was immediate upon Gasol’s return. The ball zipped from sideline to sideline, and Toronto quickly got into different actions after their first looks were snuffed out. Gasol’s role as the conduit was on full display, and he was even aggressive searching for his own shot!

A
K. Lowry33 MIN, 17 PTS, 4 REB, 8 AST, 1 STL, 6-13 FG, 2-5 3FG, 3-4 FT, 0 BLK, 4 TO, 4 +/-

Lowry always accurately assesses the pulse of the game. He sensed the early momentum and used his team’s energy to put the Thunder on their heels. He was repeatedly pushing the ball up the floor on every opportunity, disallowing any chance for the defence to take a breath. Then he reemerged late with crucial game-sealing buckets as the Raptors flirted with coughing up the victory.

A+
O. Anunoby39 MIN, 21 PTS, 5 REB, 5 AST, 3 STL, 8-13 FG, 3-6 3FG, 2-2 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 3 +/-

Anunoby is so much more comfortable in a lower usage role and as a defensive stopper. With Siakam and Gasol absorbing much more of the ball on offence, Anunoby returned to being an effective cog in the machine, canning shots from deep and making the extra pass. The one defensive possession in which he thwarted Gilgeous-Alexander’s back-door cut was filthy.

A+
N. Powell27 MIN, 23 PTS, 2 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 9-11 FG, 3-4 3FG, 2-2 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 10 +/-

Powell continues to build upon his impressive start to the season. As an early substitute of off the bench, Powell calmly stepped into his three-point shot and was constantly leaking out in transition which punished Oklahoma City. Is it too soon to be confident in Powell night in, night out at this point?

D-
P. McCaw26 MIN, 6 PTS, 0 REB, 5 AST, 2 STL, 2-5 FG, 1-2 3FG, 1-1 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -5 +/-

It is a little bit easier to appreciate McCaw when he is rightly assuming a reduced role, unfortunately that role should still be reduced to zero minutes. It started off… okay… and then an incredibly ugly stretch in the fourth in which McCaw coughed up the ball and was blown by defensively put the win in serious jeopardy.

A-
T. Davis17 MIN, 12 PTS, 7 REB, 3 AST, 3 STL, 5-8 FG, 2-4 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 3 TO, 18 +/-

Was largely invisible during the first half as the starters were dominating, however Davis found a nice groove in an important stretch late in the third. He rose up for a three off of a Gasol DHO and then bullied his way to the rim on the next possession to restore Toronto’s healthy lead. The dude is fearless. Also, enjoyed the mic picking up his non-stop trash talk towards Schroeder.

B
R. Hollis-Jefferson8 MIN, 0 PTS, 3 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 0-0 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-2 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 3 +/-

Just a brief cameo in the first half for Hollis-Jefferson, not much to note.

B
Nick Nurse

Nurse is hamstrung by minutes restrictions, but despite this the lineup decisions were reasonable today. All except the McCaw conundrum. During the small hiccup in the third quarter, Nurse quickly reinserted Gasol as the bench group unraveled, however his insistence on running McCaw late is inexplicable. The Raptors also had a couple of nifty ATO plays in response to the Thunder shooting onslaught during the second half, something that must be noted amidst the likely McCaw/Nurse slander tonight.

Things We Saw

  1. Starting big
    With an almost fully healthy team, the next question that will linger is the makeup of the starting lineup. In an unexpected twist, Nurse decided to go with the supersize Gasol-Ibaka frontcourt, bumping Siakam to the 3 and Anunoby to the 2. It paid dividends as Ibaka maintained his hot streak and the added size minimized Steven Adams threat on the glass. Anunoby wreaking havoc on smaller guards is a joy to watch. With VanVleet’s return nearing, Nurse will continue to be malleable with his starters.
  2. Smokin’ start
    You’d be hard-pressed to find a more impressive half from Toronto this season, barring maybe the Utah destruction at home months ago. The Raptors came out composed, direct, and clinical in their approach which resulted in a 73-55 lead. They fluidly moved into secondary actions and the additional scoring threats on the floor was noticeable. You’d hope that the wobbly second half is less of an issue moving forward as injury restrictions loosen.
  3. Shai remains a stud
    It wasn’t as good as his monstrous 20 rebound triple-double, but Gilgeous-Alexander was one of the lone bright spots for Oklahoma City tonight. The Canadian scored an efficient 21 points with six rebounds and six assists, almost marching the Thunder back into a game that they had no right winning.
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