|A. Baynes7 MIN, 2 PTS, 1 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 1-2 FG, 0-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -1 +/-|
I’m not sure if dad’s play catch with their sons in Australia, but Aaron Baynes’s sure didn’t. Baynes started in this one and had the opportunity to grab about 6-8 boards in the 7 minutes he played, but ended up with just one. Quite an impressive volleyer of the ball, but that’s not the sport he’s being paid to play.
|O. Anunoby33 MIN, 13 PTS, 5 REB, 2 AST, 3 STL, 4-9 FG, 2-4 3FG, 3-4 FT, 1 BLK, 2 TO, -5 +/-|
When OG sticks to his guns and excels at what he’s really good at: suffocating defence, catch and shoot threes and being patient and poised with the ball, he’s a hell of a basketball player. He did all of the above in this one. Aggressive from his first possession, shot it well from deep and played within himself. The numbers might not show it, but this was one of OG’s best games of the season.
|P. Siakam37 MIN, 15 PTS, 7 REB, 4 AST, 3 STL, 6-15 FG, 2-6 3FG, 1-1 FT, 1 BLK, 2 TO, 1 +/-|
Siakam was invisible early in this one, but he started to find his feet as the night progressed. He compensated for his subpar performance on offense with some smart defensive plays and a few hockey assists which resulted in wide open shots for his teammates. It wasn’t his best showing of the season, but at least it drew a favourable result.
|F. VanVleet35 MIN, 17 PTS, 1 REB, 8 AST, 0 STL, 6-20 FG, 5-15 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 4 TO, -5 +/-|
Freddy couldn’t buy a bucket from deep early, but that all changed in the second half. The Dinos favourite bearded baller ramped it up in the 3rd quarter, where he scored 12 of his 17 points on the night. Fred’s game is predicated on his jumper and it just wasn’t falling tonight, but he realized that and was able to have a real impact on this game with his passing. Freddy’s getting to the point in his career where he’s far from a one-dimensional player, and showed just how valuble he is, even without a buttery stroke from three.
|K. Lowry34 MIN, 16 PTS, 6 REB, 12 AST, 2 STL, 6-10 FG, 4-5 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 4 TO, 14 +/-|
When Kyle opened the game with a shoulder down, bulldoggish drive to the hoop, you knew he wasn’t playing around in this one. Lowry compounded a super aggressive start with a keen eye to facilitate early, and get the offense humming from the jump. Toronto’s captain also helped control tempo all night long, pushing the ball down the throats of a gassed Hornets team, who was on the second night of a back to back.
|C. Boucher29 MIN, 25 PTS, 10 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 8-12 FG, 2-4 3FG, 7-8 FT, 2 BLK, 1 TO, 1 +/-|
It’s like Boucher reads his grades after every game and think’s “Hmm.. how am I going to do something new and impressive this game to top the last?”. Well, it was another 5-star performance for the wirey French-Canadian on Thursday evening. He canned multiple threes, asserted his usual imposing defensive dominance around the rim, and even showed us a couple crafty guard-esque finishes. Did I mention he crammed the baseline dunk to seal the victory? Have yourself a birthday week, Chris.
|S. Johnson20 MIN, 6 PTS, 1 REB, 3 AST, 1 STL, 2-3 FG, 2-3 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 2 TO, 2 +/-|
If I told you in the preseason, that Stanley Johnston was going to be our 3rd guy off the bench and play 20+ minutes a night for this team, you might shudder. Well, here we are 11 games in and that’s the case. And you know what? He’s doing a damn good job. Great defence, hit his open threes and played like he gave a shit for every minute he was out there. He was a valuable asset for Toronto tonight, and that’s starting to become par for the course for Stanimal.
|N. Powell19 MIN, 11 PTS, 5 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 5-13 FG, 1-8 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, 7 +/-|
Norm’s taken a bit of flack for not offering much in way of production during his 20-25 minutes a night, and he gave his team some quality production early on in this one. However, much like past performances this season, he wasn’t able to sustain it.
|Y. Watanabe14 MIN, 3 PTS, 4 REB, 0 AST, 1 STL, 1-2 FG, 1-2 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, 8 +/-|
Watanabe’s first 3 plays of the game were: diving on top of a loose ball (20 seconds after checking into the game), a corner three that he let go with the confidence of 2017 Steph Curry and a nasty swat on Biyombo at the rim. Yuta has great court sense and you don’t have to watch him for long to pick up on the fact that he’s got a lofty basketball IQ. He gave the Raps a bit of everything tonight.
|M. Flynn6 MIN, 3 PTS, 0 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 1-2 FG, 1-2 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -7 +/-|
It took a few games, but Malachi is finally starting to feel at home on an NBA basketball court. The rookie had a couple nice looks in transition and knocked down his first triple of the evening, but most importantly, he played with confidence.
Nurse was coaching hard early in this one, switching back and forth between man and zone defence to counteract Charlotte’s different lineups. He did a great job of drawing up sound plays on both ends in the final two minutes, which ultimately helped seal the win for his team.
Things We Saw
- The Toronto Raptors won a basketball game. I feel like I should pull a Bart Simpson right now and just type the previous sentence 100 times over until it’s no longer surprising. But all jokes aside, the boys were finally able to close out a game and execute down the stretch, earning a win which can hopefully catapult them out of their early-season funk.
- Kyle Lowry notched his 4000th assist as a Raptor tonight. I love him so much and I recommend you do the same.
- Despite the positive result, the Raps still left much to be desired on the defensive end. Some of it is on the coaching staff, but a lot of defence boils down to effort and communication, two departments which Toronto was lacking in on Thursday when they didn’t have the ball in their hands. Until they get on the same page on D, they’re going to have trouble drawing a positive result against competition that doesn’t reside in the league’s basement.