Quick Reaction: Raptors 115, Celtics 83

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Raptors 115 Final
Box Score
83 Celtics

B
P. Achiuwa25 MIN, 15 PTS, 15 REB, 0 AST, 2 STL, 6-13 FG, 1-2 3FG, 2- FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, +16 +/-

The Celtics are a great matchup for Achiuwa, and he performed fairly well tonight after a slow start. Although still quite raw as a player, Precious was part of the lineup that put the game away midway through the 4th, so it’s clear he has earned Nurse’s trust.

C+
O. Anunoby34 MIN, 14 PTS, 5 REB, 3 AST, 0 STL, 4-18 FG, 0-5 3FG, 6- FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, +11 +/-

A fairly poor night by OG’s standards. Seemed to be forcing up a lot of tough shots and missed a couple open passes, something Raptors fans have not been accustomed to seeing from OG. Despite this, he played incredible defence all night on the Celtics’ star wings.

A+
S. Barnes35 MIN, 25 PTS, 13 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 11-17 FG, 1-2 3FG, 2- FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, +29 +/-

If you weren’t entirely convinced, you are now. Barnes had the best night of his young career, knocking down shots at all 3 levels of the floor. Add to this his usual defensive intensity and playmaking ability, and it’s obvious he was the best Raptor on the floor tonight.

B
F. VanVleet37 MIN, 11 PTS, 4 REB, 9 AST, 3 STL, 3-10 FG, 2-5 3FG, 3- FT, 1 BLK, 4 TO, +25 +/-

Fred seems to be working harder to get his teammates involved, likely in response to his terrible shooting night against Washington on Wednesday. Although he has yet another atrocious shooting performance tonight, Fred was active defensively and provided some much-needed leadership. Hard to give him anything less than a B.

A-
G. Trent Jr.32 MIN, 20 PTS, 3 REB, 1 AST, 4 STL, 7-13 FG, 2-6 3FG, 4- FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, +21 +/-

His scoring kept the Raps in the lead after the Celtics made their run in the middle of the third, and if it weren’t for the slow start his grade would’ve been even higher. This is now the second consecutive game in which Trent has been a hard worker on defence, which bodes well for his rest of season outlook as he battles for minutes with the other guards.

B
C. Boucher20 MIN, 11 PTS, 7 REB, 0 AST, 2 STL, 4-11 FG, 1-6 3FG, 2- FT, 1 BLK, 1 TO, +11 +/-

Boucher is probably a little too willing to jack up contested three pointers early in the shot clock, but it’s not a huge concern when the Raptors are leading. He is also quickly developing some chemistry with Khem Birch as a backup frontcourt pairing. Somebody come up with a clever nickname for this duo ASAP!

Inc
J. Champagnie3 MIN, 0 PTS, 1 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 0-0 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0- FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, +7 +/-

Nothing of note, probably the least impactful garbage-time performer but it’s hard to hold that against him.

C+
K. Birch21 MIN, 2 PTS, 6 REB, 0 AST, 2 STL, 1-3 FG, 0-1 3FG, 0- FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, +12 +/-

Worked hard all night, despite being overmatched athletically by the Celtics’ bigs. While not much is expected of Birch offensively, if he can’t consistently catch passes as the roll man his minutes will dwindle.

B-
G. Dragic12 MIN, 5 PTS, 1 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 2-6 FG, 1-4 3FG, 0- FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -1 +/-

It remains to be seen if the backcourt partnership between Dragic and Fred Van Vleet is actually feasible. Overall a pretty average performance, but with so many good options behind him in the depth chart, average isn’t gonna cut it.

Inc
M. Flynn3 MIN, 0 PTS, 1 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 0-1 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0- FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, +7 +/-

Only got into the game in garbage time, but showed some hustle and nabbed a steal. I can’t imagine it will be long before he’s eating into Dragic’s minutes.

Inc
D. Banton3 MIN, 2 PTS, 0 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 1-2 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0- FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, +7 +/-

Also did not play any meaningful minutes, but flashed a nice handle and almost nailed the shot. The future continues to look bright for Dalano.

B
S. Mykhailiuk14 MIN, 8 PTS, 3 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 2-5 FG, 2-4 3FG, 2- FT, 0 BLK, 3 TO, +11 +/-

Pretty quiet night for Svi overall. He looked more assertive in garbage time, which is an encouraging sight considering he seemed a tad passive earlier in the game. He provides great spacing because opposing defences respect his shooting, and will surely take more shots as he becomes more acclimated to the team.

Inc
I. Bonga2 MIN, 2 PTS, 1 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 1-1 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0- FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, +4 +/-

Posted a garbage time triple-single. Nothing else of note, however.

A+
Nick Nurse

You have to give Nick Nurse credit for allowing the bigs to handle the ball and run the break. The Raptors needed that offence badly, and it’s a credit to Nurse’s philosophy that they were able to generate so much on the break. Defensively, the Raptors switching really flummoxed the Celtics, which led to a lot of turnovers (and more opportunities to run).

Things We Saw

  1. It’s hard to tell whether this is a poor shooting team, or if the Raptors have just gotten off to a slow start. Didn’t really make a difference tonight, but if the offensive struggles continue Nick Nurse will be forced to make some difficult lineup decisions. How willing is Nurse to sacrifice defence for shooting? Only time will tell.
  2. It is becoming increasingly obvious that the Raptors have no choice but to push the ball in transition. The half court offence is concerningly stagnant, with possessions often devolving into a series of desperate isolations if the first action doesn’t amount to anything. Against teams who do not dominate the offensive glass, relying on transition buckets is fine –– but as of right now a game against the Lakers or 76ers could get ugly very quickly for the Raptors.
  3. The Raptors would be wise to move on from Goran Dragic sooner rather than later. Dragic didn’t necessarily have a bad night, but he was arguably the worst Raptor to touch the court. If he’s not consistently turning in quality performances, it’s hard to understand what his purpose is on this team (beyond eating up valuable NBA minutes that would otherwise be going to Malachi Flynn or Dalano Banton).

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