Quick Reaction: Raptors 111, Nuggets 121

6 mins read
Photo Credit: raptors.com

The Rap Up with Oren and Zarar:

TOR Raptors 111 Final
Box Score
121 DEN Nuggets

K. Birch36 MIN, 20 PTS, 8 REB, 4 AST, 2 STL, 8-10 FG, 2-2 3FG, 2-4 FT, 1 BLK, 2 TO, 8 +/-

I love how Birch runs the floor. It’s not bench mob Pascal-like, but he creates so many opportunities in transition and as a cutter but simply diving to the basket. Underrated ability at finding that extra pass to an open shooter. Speaking of which, he’s made more threes in 10 Raptor games (5) as he did his entire four seasons in Orlando (4). The new career-high was inevitable. First 20-point game.

P. Siakam31 MIN, 11 PTS, 5 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 5-11 FG, 1-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, -15 +/-

Disappeared after the first quarter, as OG and Malachi took over. Only scored two points afterwards. He had the anti OG mindset offensively tonight.

M. Flynn32 MIN, 16 PTS, 6 REB, 4 AST, 1 STL, 6-9 FG, 2-4 3FG, 2-2 FT, 0 BLK, 6 TO, -25 +/-

Oren mentioned this on The Rap Up a couple of games ago: Malachi’s pretty reliable late in games, but he has to bring that same aggression on offence early too. Was pretty quiet after finding Birch rolling to the rim on the first possession of the game, but woke up in the 2nd quarter. Really drove the bus in the 3rd. Criminal to have him run the second unit alone in the 4th.

O. Anunoby34 MIN, 25 PTS, 3 REB, 3 AST, 1 STL, 8-21 FG, 4-8 3FG, 5-5 FT, 1 BLK, 2 TO, -2 +/-

This isn’t the Mile High Special anymore, because OG’s dropping 20+ every game (6 straight and counting) You have to love the variety of ways he is scoring too. Nice vision in the post, finding Birch for a couple of thunderous dunks. Some tunnel vision on drives, which led to some poor percentage attempts and 8-21 shooting, but trust the process.

K. Lowry33 MIN, 20 PTS, 5 REB, 7 AST, 2 STL, 7-16 FG, 5-10 3FG, 1-2 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -8 +/-

To nobody’s surprise, all Kyle needed to get his shot back was to not play once a week. Sidenote: this was Lowry’s 600th game as a Raptor. Only DeMar DeRozan can claim more.

Y. Watanabe18 MIN, 5 PTS, 2 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 1-4 FG, 1-3 3FG, 2-2 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, 1 +/-

Yuta’s made a three in eight straight games now. Who does he think he is, Fred? There is zero hesitation anymore, he’s confident on what he wants to do when he gets the ball. He plays better with multiple playmakers on the court, and today’s bench lineup lacked that.

D. Bembry13 MIN, 4 PTS, 1 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 2-4 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, -6 +/-

Bembry snapped a pretty woof stretch of performances. High energy on defence and that hanging rim dunk that he likes to do returned.

R. Hood12 MIN, 0 PTS, 1 REB, 0 AST, 1 STL, 0-2 FG, 0-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -13 +/-

My take on Hood now that he’s been here a month is that he is an isolation scorer that doesn’t really fit with this team’s philosophy. One of those possessions came in the fourth when the bench was digging the insurmountable hole. Everything he does just seems out of synergy.

F. Gillespie12 MIN, 4 PTS, 2 REB, 0 AST, 1 STL, 1-1 FG, 0-0 3FG, 2-2 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, 0 +/-

Another guy that would benefit more with playmakers that the bench didn’t really provide today.

S. Johnson10 MIN, 6 PTS, 0 REB, 3 AST, 0 STL, 2-4 FG, 1-3 3FG, 1-1 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -3 +/-

He was on the court, yes. Garbage time three in the final minute.

Nick Nurse

The usual bench lineup with Malachi cratered this game early 4th quarter. Since OG was in hyper aggressive mode anyway, maybe it would have made more sense to stagger Pascal’s minutes, so that he can play point forward with the 2nd unit. You can’t go all five reserves….ever. You’re asking for an L.

Things We Saw

  1. JOKER: The game is too easy for Nikola Jokic. One thing about him that gets overlooked is his Zach Randolph hops on offensive boards. He just tips it in over you regardless of your positioning. Effortless double-double.
  2. BENCH MOB (NOT): Wince. Well first of all, Flynn was starting which takes away from this unit to begin with and Gary Trent Jr and Chris Boucher. still aren’t back. But Bembry (4) was the only player to score in the first half. They can’t be trusted alone as a unit or graded properly until Boucher and Trent are both back as reserves. We haven’t seen that yet.
  3. MPJ: Michael Porter Jr’s been averaging over 26ppg since Jamal Murray tore his ACL. He’s been wanting more looks, as he stressed in the bubble playoffs. He’s making the most out of it on insane efficiency (58% FG / 52% on threes)

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