Quick Reaction: Raptors 102, Jazz 106

10 mins read
Photo Source: Raptors.com
TOR Raptors 102 Final
Box Score
106 UTA Jazz

K. Birch35 MIN, 17 PTS, 10 REB, 6 AST, 1 STL, 8-13 FG, 1-3 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, -10 +/-

Was as good as can be for the majority of the game. Defensively, he swallows the whole paint; he’s so athletic that he can be in multiple places at once and defend one side of the paint while cheating to the other, waiting to pick off a pass. Offensively, he hit a triple, screened, and attacked the offensive glass. Even threw in a Gortat screen for Malach in transition for good measure. Finished seemingly every pick and roll with a smooth floater from 3-4 feet, which is quickly becoming his signature offensive move. As with the rest of the Raptors, the well went dry in the fourth quarter, as he struggled to take advantage of Gobert with the ease he showed in the first three quarters. When he did get to those short push shots, he missed them. Hard to blame him, but if he had converted on the shots he hit throughout the game, Toronto would have won this game. Still. An incredible performance.

P. Siakam40 MIN, 15 PTS, 7 REB, 0 AST, 3 STL, 7-18 FG, 1-3 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 4 TO, 0 +/-

He was aggressive early, hitting his midrange shots and rebounding his own misses. He slowed down and started missing his looks, but he did a great job contributing in other ways. Tipped in the ball in transition. Forced turnovers as he moved his feet defensively. Deferred and kept the ball moving, though he did his job to draw advantages with the dribble. Yes, it would be nice to see him scoring. And of course it would be nice if his handle tightened and he didn’t turn it over off the dribble. That deference turned a scooch too far in the fourth quarter, as he hardly got a touch over the last several minutes. But he remained a positive despite all that, which is big.

O. Anunoby40 MIN, 17 PTS, 5 REB, 4 AST, 1 STL, 7-17 FG, 3-9 3FG, 0-0 FT, 2 BLK, 1 TO, -6 +/-

Continued his self-creation tendency, hitting a pullup triple early. He attacked rotations and kept the ball moving, pinging it to his bigs for layups. He even created out of the pick and roll and dribbled into a midrange pullup. At one point, he lost the handle trying to attack out of the post, but those are the lumps you take with the rest of the growth. His defense was key in the fourth, as he blocked a triple in the corner that led to a Bembry layup in transition, and he swallowed a post-up against him. A very good game.

F. VanVleet39 MIN, 30 PTS, 6 REB, 7 AST, 2 STL, 11-25 FG, 4-11 3FG, 4-4 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 0 +/-

Hit his early midrange jumpers, one pulling up, and the other off the catch. Then went supernova, hitting triples and floaters and creating for others. He threw some incredible pick-and-roll passes, spraying the ball to the weak side, strong side, dunker spot, from all angles. Perhaps the most impressive part of his game was his defense (nothing new there) as he erased Joe Ingles in isolation, sticking with him after multiple dribble moves and screens. Then in the fourth quarter, he struggled. Picked up his dribble in the midrange and lobbed hesitation jumpers into his defenders’ hands. The shot quality dropped, and some of his forced jumpers may as well have been turnovers. Doesn’t take away from the game, but it does shed a different light on it.

M. Flynn36 MIN, 10 PTS, 5 REB, 6 AST, 1 STL, 4-11 FG, 2-5 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -13 +/-

He is looking more and more comfortable on the court with the league’s best players. He ran an early pick and roll and sprayed an early-beat pass to the corner for a Khem Birch three. Great job not letting himself get screened off the ball defensively, which kept the Jazz from pinging the ball ahead of rotations. Hit his triples, too, both off the catch and the bounce. Made Gobert look like a fool with a wraparound bounce pass to a rolling Birch in the pick and roll. He jumped lanes and picked passes on the defensive end. Successfully isolated on Gobert on one play and then forced it the next; that’s what being a rookie is like.

D. Bembry16 MIN, 4 PTS, 1 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 1-2 FG, 0-0 3FG, 2-3 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, -2 +/-

Entered the game and immediately read a passing lane, tipping a cross-court pass out of bounds. Drew free throws to end the first quarter. Jump-started the fastbreak with defensive plays. Was much sloppier in his time in the second half.

Y. Watanabe14 MIN, 2 PTS, 1 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 1-3 FG, 0-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 1 +/-

Back cut on his first defensive possession of the game, then allowed a blow-by drive to Jordan Clarkson for a buzzer-beating dunk to end the first quarter. Picked it up in the second quarter as he ran a brilliant pick and roll with Khem Birch, feeding him for the floater, and picked up a dunk in transition on the next possession.

F. Gillespie12 MIN, 4 PTS, 4 REB, 0 AST, 1 STL, 2-4 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-2 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, 6 +/-

Didn’t spend a lot of time defending the paint in his first-quarter stint, although he did win a battle with Gobert for a contested rebound. Was more active on both ends in his second-half stint, making himself more available for passes from his guards.

J. Harris3 MIN, 3 PTS, 0 REB, 0 AST, 1 STL, 1-1 FG, 1-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 4 +/-

Played in the second quarter and drilled his first shot, an uncontested three! His hustle after a Raptors miss also forced a Jazz turnover.

Nick Nurse

After running an all-bench group to start the fourth in the last one, and watching it get shelled, Nurse ran VanVleet with the bench group at the top of the fourth, and it survived. That was a nice change. He also tried to shake Siakam loose by having VanVleet screen for him, which is also creative. Ultimately, the starters didn’t carry it to close the game, but that’s hard to pin on the coach. The rotations and the playcalling seemed on point.

Things We Saw

  1. The grades may seem generous, but these Jazz are a heck of a team for a reason. The best in the league, and they’re still wonderful even without Mike Conley and Donovan Mitchell. The Raptors aren’t supposed to win this game. A lot of their guys played well, and they lost. That’s life sometimes.
  2. At one point early in the game, VanVleet stunted dramatically further to the other side of the court than expected, and he detonated the pick and roll all the way from the weak side. Pascal Siakam simultaneously stunted up from the weak side corner to help on VanVleet’s man as he strayed. The ball pinged to VanVleet’s original cover, and he hesitated once when Siakam showed and returned to the corner, and he hesitated again as VanVleet recovered, then launched. Of course he missed. That was a good example of the heady, creative defense that these guys can play. A fun note.


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