Quick Reaction: Raptors 121, Lakers 114

10 mins read
TOR Raptors 121 Final
Box Score
114 LA Lakers

B
K. Birch29 MIN, 4 PTS, 9 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 1-6 FG, 0-1 3FG, 2-4 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -1 +/-

Had a solid series of defensive possessions on Andre Drummond in the post, which isn’t too hard a thing to do, admittedly, but was still a positive. Was much quieter than his usual with the Raptors, but his rebounding remained great. Passed well. Not his best game, but he still contributed.

A+
K. Lowry40 MIN, 37 PTS, 2 REB, 11 AST, 1 STL, 12-20 FG, 8-13 3FG, 5-6 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 7 +/-

GROAT, bordering on GOAT. Threw a nice lob to Khem Birch early, and splashed a moonball pullup out of the pick and roll with Siakam, then got an and-1 moonball floater from the baseline. Grifted his way to a bunch of free throws in the second, manufacturing open-floor fouls out of thin air. His funky passes seemed to take the Lakers by surprise. He scored five effortless points on both sides of a two-for-one to end the first half. Then he stepped on their throats in the second half, putting the game away (or so I thought) in the third. When the Lakers made a last-gasp run in the fourth, it was Lowry who rained jumpers (and jumpers, and jumpers, and ju–) on their heads until they gave up and went home.

A+
P. Siakam38 MIN, 39 PTS, 13 REB, 4 AST, 2 STL, 15-26 FG, 4-8 3FG, 5-7 FT, 2 BLK, 4 TO, 13 +/-

Drew free throws on his first possession, and then splashed a triple on his first true shot attempt. Followed up by attacking in the pick and roll and hitting a step-up push shot. Was very physical around the rim, throwing his body into defenders with the spin move or the step through, creating contact on the ground before he went up. Worked very well. Hit his jumpers in the midrange with rapid-fire dribbling moves to open space. Beyond his finishing and creation ability, he made snap decisions, and they were almost always correct, aside from a few sloppy turnovers in the fourth. Incredible stuff. On the other end, Anthony Davis — who, should he have been playing? He seemed injured or at the very least like he had two charley horses — couldn’t get an inch against Siakam. Great on-ball defense.

D
S. Johnson29 MIN, 0 PTS, 2 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 0-5 FG, 0-5 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 2 TO, 6 +/-

Finally matched up against his nemesis, LeBron James. There were some awkward spots. At one point ran a pick and roll with Gillespie and just forgot to take the ball with him as he tried to turn the corner. He missed his triples by wide margins. He did, however, strip Kuzma under the rim on a drive in the third quarter. His plus-minus was due almost entirely to sharing the court with Siakam and Lowry for so many minutes.

D
M. Flynn19 MIN, 0 PTS, 1 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 0-7 FG, 0-5 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -4 +/-

His confidence remains mountainous, but he missed his early jumpers in this one. Took some iffy angles on the defense end, too. The Raptors went a different direction to close the game, and it made sense.

A+
D. Bembry24 MIN, 14 PTS, 8 REB, 1 AST, 3 STL, 5-8 FG, 0-1 3FG, 4-6 FT, 0 BLK, 3 TO, 15 +/-

Sparkplug tonight. Stole passes, cut for twos. His energy stole points for the Raptors with ease. He had about 100 tiny plays that won advantages for the Raptors, either finishing, rotating, or even just pushing the pace. He closed for the Raptors, and he earned it. A great performance from a deep-rotation option.

A
F. Gillespie19 MIN, 11 PTS, 7 REB, 0 AST, 1 STL, 5-11 FG, 0-0 3FG, 1-2 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 7 +/-

Was active under the rim on the offensive end, but he had trouble getting shots up in a crowd. Really needs to work on his footwork and quickness with the ball. Also wasn’t fast enough to protect the rim, as Kyle Kuzma dunked on his head. Then in the second half did exactly those very things he struggled at in the first half. Made himself available for passes and went straight up for dunks. Rotated early and cut off drives. Stayed vertical. Great adjustments.

B+
Y. Watanabe16 MIN, 6 PTS, 4 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 2-4 FG, 1-2 3FG, 1-2 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, 0 +/-

Hit a spot-up three as Toronto was falling behind in the first quarter, offering some of Toronto’s only non-Siakam points early. He didn’t play much — far less than Stanley Johnson, in fact — yet still closed for the Raptors. Connected on a free-throw-line floater to beat the clock with five minutes left, with Toronto gasping for offense. Then cut for free throws.

B
R. Hood11 MIN, 7 PTS, 3 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 1-2 FG, 1-1 3FG, 4-4 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -5 +/-

Somehow drew a miracle foul on LeBron James on a heave to beat the shot clock, and had a nice dish to Gillespie for a dunk in transition. Hit a three on the next possession to tie the game in the second quarter. Passed well in the third quarter, although the Lakers had basically quit on the game by that point.

C+
J. Harris9 MIN, 3 PTS, 0 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 1-5 FG, 1-2 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -3 +/-

Hit another triple! But also received a very audible “get that sh*t out of here” from Markieff Morris after being blocked at the rim, and fell very, very asleep on the defensive end to allow a layup to Montrezl Harrell. Also fell asleep guarding Kuzma. Ups and downs, of course, for a rookie who’s seen very little playing team in the league.

A
Nick Nurse

His rotation choices seemed to be entirely flow-based, with no concern for who was owed minutes, or what the rotation has looked like on previous nights. It worked. He brought Siakam and Lowry into the game early in the fourth to keep Toronto’s leap from evaporating. He coached that game like a man who wants to win.

Things We Saw

  1. If the Lakers indeed are broken, as they seemed to be in this game, then deciding not to trade Talen Horton-Tucker for Kyle Lowry stands out as one of the worst managerial decisions in recent memory. So poor, in fact, that I don’t believe the offer was ever real; Toronto wasn’t going to part ways with Lowry in exchange for a backup guard with some potential. That would make no sense from Toronto’s perspective; that’s how little sense refusing it from the other side makes. All that to say: it was sweet watching Lowry cook the Lakers, his would-be suitors.
  2. Are the Lakers okay? They had lost five of six before this game, and they’re slipping into play-in regions. They desperately needed this one, but they played like they had an insurmountable cushion in the standings. Strange season.
  3. Free Marc Gasol.
  4. The Lowry-Siakam two-man game was worrrrrking. I wrote about it last year, but it’s good to see Siakam able to get shots that he doesn’t have to create for himself.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.