Purple Raptors enter April in Thanos mode, destroy Warriors 130-77

8 mins read
Photo from the Raptors official twitter account.

First, check out Zarar and Oren’s take in The Rap Up.

Were the Raptors just under a vicious March curse? Should Steph Curry be named MVP today because of how the Warriors play without him?

What happened between the Raptors being physically manhandled by the “who he play for?” Thunder on Wednesday, and Friday’s ethering of yet another depleted team in the Warriors?

For starters, Pascal Siakam had a special shoutout to someone who put him in the right mindset on his 27th birhday.

“Today was a beautiful day. I woke up to my niece singing me happy birthday, I think that was the greatest happy birthday I’ve ever had. She kind of started my day off right. With a lot of negativity and a lot of things that’s going on in the world, just having those people you care about, I think that’s super important and I was super grateful to wake up to that,” Siakam said to reporters after the game.

The birthday boy had one of his most complete games of the season. Pascal attacked early with downhill drives, using the spin move that he is unfairly targeted about by immature NBA twitter. Siakam scored 23 points off 18 shots in the first half alone, including a buzzer beater that was somehow waved off but eventually reversed.

Gary Trent Jr. was probably the lone bright spot in Wednesday’s embarrassing OKC loss. He had a career-high 31 points in that game and helped Pascal set the tone early vs Golden State Here’s a pair of his six threes, finishing with 24 points.

Trent mentioned that he knows how to get his shots, having played with gunners like Dame, CJ, and Melo in Portland. His first five games in a Raptor uniform have shown that he has a nice balance of being assertive, but also not forcing the issue. Trent will not be a player that fades to the corner and watches for half a quarter. That’s something OG Anunoby has been guilty of in the past, but he’s averaging 18.6 ppg (21 vs GS) since returning from covid protocols. Overall, OG has scored at least 15 points in eight straight games, has only scored in single digits three times this entire season, and has many Raps fans salivating at his growing offensive game.

OG is getting increasingly comfortable using his strength and handle in iso situations, but not picking up a slew of offensive fouls like he was earlier in the season.

Even though the Raptors led by 20 at the half, we’ve seen them blow leads all season long. It was the second half that made this game start trending on social media.

First of all, the Raptors scored a franchise record 46 points in the third quarter. Siakam mixed up his attacking game in the first half by knocking down some threes, and finding shooters. Overall, Pascal finished with a season-high 36 points and five assists. OG eventually pushed the lead to fiddy.

Want to know how lopsided this really got? The Raptors reached 100 points before the Warrriors got to 50. outscored Golden State by 51 points in the second and third quarters combined, which is the biggest point differential over a two quarter span in NBA history.

Still a quarter to go. When Aron Baynes is doing stuff like this, just go home everybody.

Now enter Malachi Flynn’s best game of his rookie season. Flynn’s defence has been way ahead of his offence all year. He’s basically become Fred Jr (I know that name is taken) in terms of being a pest digging for strips in the post, which contributed to two steals in this game. Flynn’s not paying homage to VanVleet for that though.

“Fred don’t get that credit, he’s definitely nice at it but I’ve had that in my game too,” Flynn said. “He’s definitely a little better at it right now, he’s got a lot of steals this year.”

However the rookie’s shooting has been shockingly bad, especially for someone who doesn’t appear to have any mechanical flaws in his jumper. Coming into this game, Flynn was shooting a ghastly 27.4 percent from the field and 17.5 percent from three. Shot selection has been an issue lately, for example just walking up the court and launching this in the previous game:

However Flynn did a much better job (albeit in garbage time) in picking better spots to shoot, and like Pascal, attacking driving lanes when he got the opportunity. It was the rookie who gave the Raptors their first 60 point lead in franchise history.

“Obviously the kid has confidence,” Siakam said. “I dont think as a rookie I had his confidence.”

Also to cap off the game, what the hell was this Alen Smailagic?

Time to list the other Raptor records from this game, as if I haven’t done that enough already:

  • Trent finished a +54, highest in Raptors history (passing Mark Jackson’s +46) and 2nd highest in NBA history. Only Luc Mbah a Moute’s +57 was higher.
  • Siakam’s 36 points are the most by a Raptor on their birthday, passing Vince Carter’s 26 on his 23rd birthday in 2000.
  • 53 points is easily the Raptors largest margin of victory, the previous mark was 46.

The Raptors now have a +0.5 point differential this season despite being 11 games under .500. That’s better than the Blazers, Spurs, Hornets, Knicks and Heat, who all have playoff spots. Perhaps this is exactly what the doctor ordered from a mental standpoint and maybe April can turn a new leaf. Here’s Steve Kerr’s take on the 2nd largest loss in Warriors history.

A few final notes:

  • The Bulls still have not won a game since acquiring Nikola Vucevic. The Raptors trail the final play-in spot by one game despite coming off a 1-13 month.
  • Jersey take: I love purple and black, but the way these Raps unis were designed are awful in my opinion. Highlighted on a red court only makes them look worse.
  • The one bad thing from this game was Fred VanVleet leaving the game with a strained hip flexor. Even the wins cant be 100% pure (Serge Ibaka voice).

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