Quick Reaction: Nets 103, Raptors 114

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Photo source: Raptors.com

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BKN Nets 103 Final
Box Score
114 TOR Raptors

K. Birch24 MIN, 8 PTS, 7 REB, 3 AST, 0 STL, 3-5 FG, 1-2 3FG, 1-2 FT, 1 BLK, 1 TO, 14 +/-

Hard to find a better 8-point game than this one. Although Raptors fans used to Marc Gasol probably know how to appreciate such games from the center position. Birch was great! Rebounded incredibly well, and threw some slick passes to the corners after getting paint touches and sucking in the defense. Even hit a triple to ice the game.

O. Anunoby34 MIN, 25 PTS, 3 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 8-14 FG, 4-9 3FG, 5-5 FT, 2 BLK, 4 TO, 16 +/-

Yeah, this was incredible. OG Anunoby was blocking shots as the primary defender when his mark faded away. After Kyrie Irving exploded, Anunoby did as good a job as anyone on the Raps could to slow him down. He hit triples. He even created for himself! All the same day I released a deep dive on the guy; very kind of OG.

F. VanVleet34 MIN, 17 PTS, 3 REB, 5 AST, 1 STL, 5-13 FG, 5-10 3FG, 2-2 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 11 +/-

A slow start to the game, for sure, but VanVleet heat up in the third. His shooting ended up putting the Nets in a hole too deep to broach, especially in transition. But he was careless with his shots in transition at times, letting Jeff Green track him easily for a block. High highs and low lows in this one.

K. Lowry35 MIN, 14 PTS, 7 REB, 5 AST, 0 STL, 4-12 FG, 3-9 3FG, 3-4 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 18 +/-

I could write about the same thing as I wrote for VanVleet. Hit shooting was huge as Toronto built a lead. But his passing in particular was incredible as he tested the very limit of his new centers’ catch radiuses. Started slow, finished big.

P. Siakam37 MIN, 27 PTS, 9 REB, 6 AST, 2 STL, 10-19 FG, 2-5 3FG, 5-6 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, 16 +/-

Unbelievable game. Toronto’s best performer. Was brilliant on offense, passing, creating for himself in the post, from the perimeter, attacking rotations. Nifty footwork. Attacked opponents on defense, switching as a weapon. That was the performance of a star.

F. Gillespie23 MIN, 4 PTS, 5 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 1-4 FG, 0-0 3FG, 2-2 FT, 5 BLK, 0 TO, -3 +/-

Five blocks!! Gillespie isn’t as polished as Birch, but he perhaps has a higher ceiling as a defensive big because of his size. He was incredible defending the rim, and he altered plenty of shots that he didn’t block. Set huge screens, too.

G. Trent14 MIN, 5 PTS, 4 REB, 0 AST, 2 STL, 2-9 FG, 1-5 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -12 +/-

Not a wonderful game for Trent, but he’s probably best alongside the starters than lifting a bench unit. (Remind you of anyone you know — perhaps for whom he was traded?) He didn’t give too much tonight when his shot was off, and he needs to contribute on cold nights. Fortunately the Raptors had enough bodies tonight that they didn’t need Trent to have a hot night; Nurse simply limited his minutes and let Toronto go a different way.

Y. Watanabe13 MIN, 5 PTS, 3 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 2-4 FG, 1-3 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -2 +/-

Another really solid game. He chased offensive rebounds, threw some nifty passes, and hit a huge triple as Brooklyn was closing the gap. He’ll only play 10-15 minutes when Toronto is fully healthy, and it’s great to see him succeeding in that range.

M. Flynn11 MIN, 5 PTS, 0 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 2-5 FG, 1-3 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 2 +/-

He didn’t get enough touches when he was on the floor with the all-bench group. But he hit a badass triple after the offense broke down, and he just tossed it up there.

C. Boucher10 MIN, 4 PTS, 7 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 2-5 FG, 0-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -5 +/-

He was playing fairly well, attacking the glass, but TLC landed on his ankle, and Boucher left the game with a sprained knee. Here’s to hoping it’s not a long-term issue.

Nick Nurse

I liked his choice of going all-bench and all-starter as hockey lineups. It wasn’t optimized to win the game, but it was a good way to get his starters in sync when they’d never played together, and letting his bench unit get run together in a group that had established chemistry, so they could hold the fort while the starters learned on the job. And that’s exactly what happened. The starters picked it up in the third quarter, and it looked like the Big Four had played with Birch for a lifetime.

Things We Saw

  1. It’s nice to see the Raptors play like that with everyone healthy. Wowie.

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