Quick Reaction: Raptors 115, Suns 123

Made a strong push late, but still couldn't conjure up a W. The Toronto Raptors fall to 1-6 on the season.

TOR Raptors115Final
Box Score
123PHX Suns

P. Siakam38 MIN, 32 PTS, 9 REB, 3 AST, 1 STL, 11-21 FG, 1-4 3FG, 9-14 FT, 1 BLK, 1 TO, -1 +/-

Got to the line within 1 minute, scored the first 11 points for the Raptors and overall, looked like pre-pandemic Spicy P. If you had to sum up Pascal’s performance tonight in one word, it’s gotta be “determined”. Siakam played with a chip on his shoulder that we hadn’t seen from him all season. If he continues to bring this tandem of effort an confidence each night, his impact on the game should follow suit.

O. Anunoby38 MIN, 20 PTS, 8 REB, 0 AST, 1 STL, 8-10 FG, 3-5 3FG, 1-2 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 0 +/-

OG had a fine game from a statistical perspective, but much like every other showing from him this season, he left us wanting more. There were a handful of crucial possessions where Anunoby passed up an open look, or failed to assert himself in a prime position to attack. For a player who’s expected to be a key cog in Toronto’s offence this season, he still has a long way to go.

F. VanVleet38 MIN, 13 PTS, 4 REB, 7 AST, 2 STL, 5-12 FG, 2-5 3FG, 1-2 FT, 1 BLK, 1 TO, 5 +/-

Fred was in his bag early tonight. He had the ball on a string from the tip, breaking down defenders with ease, pulling it back from deep on numerous occasions and was up in the grills of Phoenix’s backcourt all night long. Unfortunately he was unable to convert a few makeable looks that would’ve turned a 13 point night into a 20-something one.

K. Lowry38 MIN, 24 PTS, 9 REB, 6 AST, 1 STL, 9-15 FG, 3-8 3FG, 3-3 FT, 0 BLK, 4 TO, -5 +/-

Pushing in transition, looking for his shot and working that motormouth all night long. KLOE oozed the swagger that he cited his team had been missing in their first 6 contests, and it breathed life back into the Raptors when they needed it most. While it didn’t amount to a win for his team, we know that if Kyle continues to bring this level of fight and leadership to the floor each night, things will begin to click for Toronto

A. Baynes13 MIN, 0 PTS, 5 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 0-2 FG, 0-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 4 +/-

Bobbling balls, getting out rebounded by players 12 inches shorter than him and missing wide open layups. It’s what’s become par for the course for Baynes in just an awful homecoming in Phoenix on Wednesday night. He physically checked out of the game in the 1st quarter, but appeared to mentally check out long before tip-off.

N. Powell26 MIN, 13 PTS, 1 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 2-7 FG, 2-5 3FG, 7-8 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -10 +/-

He travelled on his first touch of the game, but made up for his offensive shortcomings with consistently scrappy defence throughout the night. Nurse went with Norm for the 5th spot in the cruchtime lineup accompanying the starters, an ode to Powell’s positive impact on the night.

C. Boucher15 MIN, 9 PTS, 2 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 3-4 FG, 2-3 3FG, 1-1 FT, 1 BLK, 1 TO, -6 +/-

One thing I’ve noticed about Chris Boucher this season is that every single night, the guy finds a way to make a positive contribution when he’s on the court. Slim Duck’s shot wasn’t falling early, but he made use of his go-go gadget arms and bottomless supply of elbow grease to execute some fine work on the offensive glass and with his halfcourt defence.

Y. Watanabe15 MIN, 3 PTS, 3 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 1-4 FG, 1-2 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 1 TO, -14 +/-

Nurse clearly liked what he saw from the Japanese rookie in his minutes late in Monday’s loss to Boston. Watanabe hit his first three of the game, moved well on D and shot the ball with confidence. If consistently given this amount of time each night, I think his team will eventually be rewarded.

A. Len11 MIN, 1 PTS, 1 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 0-1 FG, 0-1 3FG, 1-2 FT, 1 BLK, 1 TO, -10 +/-

There’s about 10 big men in the NBA who are going to eat your lunch if you don’t match their imposing presence and physicality on the floor. Deandre Ayton is one of them. Len did a poor job of containing him, and keeping him off the offensive glass – the main reason he’s out there.

Nick Nurse

Nurse is responding to his team’s struggles with new experiments in the lineup. We saw a much shorter leash for Baynes, looks at Watanabe and Flynn early and a few combinations that had yet to take the floor this season. This loss was not for a lack of effort on Nurse’s part and it’s clear to me that he’s learning how to wield his new arsenal of players with higher confidence each night. Couple beautiful inbounds plays drawn up on the night, too.

Things We Saw

  1. In a communal act of solidarity, the Toronto Raptors and Phoenix Suns players and coaching staff gathered around centercourt before tip-off and linked arms for a moment of silence. The gesture was in response to the heinous acts of protest by thousands at Capitol Hill on Wednesday afternoon in Washington D.C. A sad day for humanity that NBA organizations made an effort to speak out against.
  2. Despite the result, for the first time this season, the Raptors looked like the Raptors again. Fred, Kyle and Pascal were all clicking again, they never looked totally out of the game, and while it doesn’t help ease the pain, Toronto’s record would likely boast more than 1 win if this was the level of basketball played in the past 6 contests.
  3. As Gilda Radner’s SNL character, Roseanne Roseannadanna used to say, “It’s always something. If it’s not one thing it’s another.”. On Wednesday night, it was the Raptor’s inability to defend the 3 point shot. The Raptors gave up a season high 21 threes on 52% shooting from beyond the arc. Pretty hard to win basketball games when your opponent’s posting those numbers.

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