We already have your pre-game, your post-game, and your quick reactions for every game, but by popular demand (a few people on Twitter) I am bringing my quarterly positives right here in long-form. Rather than try to sum them up in 240 characters or less, I can now expand on what I liked each quarter of the game. If you’re familiar with this format, you’ll know what to expect. If you aren’t, just know that if there is a baby wearing noise-canceling headphones, it counts as a positive and it’s going on the list.
First Quarter Positives:
- First things first, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO REXDALE’S VERY OWN, DALANO BANTON! Banton turns 22 today.
- Pascal is back! Ahead of schedule, Pascal Siakam makes his 2021-2022 season debut, starting at the 5 like we had speculated on The Rap Up. Let’s get weird!
- Freddy with the high-to-low pass into the post for the OG make, the first points for the Raptors.
- Corner 3 from Freddy after a swing from OG. It looks like this duo has agreed to take the lion’s share of the workload while Pascal makes his way back.
- OG’s defence on James Harden – you’re allowed to do that now.
- Fred passes inside to Scottie, who immediately recognizes that OG is more open and kicks it out to him. OG misses on the 3, but Scottie is still inside and makes the shot on the rebound. Just extremely savvy decision making from a rookie.
- OG’s defence resulting in a shot clock violation for Brooklyn.
- PASCAL FOR 3!!!!! WELCOME HOME BUDDY!
- Euro-Scottie around Kevin Durant for the make inside.
- Midrange Scottie out of the timeout.
- Birthday buckets for Dalano!
- Spin around fade-away for OG off of the feed from Precious.
- And a step-back from OG immediately after.
- And another one.
- Precious chasing Blake Griffin away from the rim. Sorry Noor.
- Precious grabbing the rebound with 5 seconds left on the clock and sending it ahead to Dalano.
Second Quarter Positives:
- Birthday and-one!
- Pascal coast to coast off of the turnover! He’s baaaaaack!!!
- Pascal straight to the rim off of the reset from the rebound (that’s a lot of r’s).
- Pascal passing out of the double to Dalano Banton. He’s been soaking it all in while rehabbing.
- Freddy step-back 3 after getting himself open. That 3 has landed him as the fourth leader in 3-pointers made in Raptors history, and the Nets call a timeout.
- OG grabbing the rebound after Fred’s missed 3 and Scottie’s missed rebound attempt. He also draws the foul and makes a free throw. He’s perfect.
- Doubling Kevin Durant while he’s shooting.
- Precious for 3!! He made the shot while on the floor with the starting line-up (aside from Pascal) so it’s entirely possible that subbing him in with the starters a little later, allowing him to visually get a feel for the tempo of the game, while Pascal eases back into it will be beneficial to both him and the team.
- Fred stripped Kevin Durant and got fouled by Bembry, made both free throws and returned the lead to the Raptors, 45-42.
- Fred with the football pass the entire length of the court ahead to OG for a 5 point lead.
- Fred cutting back while Chris Boucher handles the ball. This allows Harden to follow him, thinking Boucher is going to send it to Fred, while he actually sends it to Scottie.
- A technical on KD? Kevin just come to Toronto please we all know it’s what you want.
- Scottie steals the pass from Harden to Millsap and pushes it ahead to OG. It goes out of bounds but the hustle after getting hit in the ribs by Harden is admirable.
- Elbow Gary!
- Boucher off of the turnover with the bounce pass ahead to OG, who sends it back to Boucher for the dunk.
- SCOTTIE STEAL! HE STRIPPED KEVIN ACTUAL DURANT AND RAN AHEAD TO THE NET FOR A BEHIND THE HEAD REVERSE DUNK! FIRST TEAM ALL AUDACITY!
Third Quarter Positives:
- OG grabbing the rebound on a Blake Griffin miss.
- Siakam block!
- Pascal driving and diving. The bucket doesn’t go but the physicality is a good sign.
- An early time out after Blake Griffin sinks the 3 to give Brooklyn the lead after a 9-0 run to start the second half.
- A Gary Trent Jr bucket after the time-out to tie the game back up.
- Ball movement – Gary Trent Jr. finding Pascal under the basket off of the swing for the make.
- Fred finds the cutting Precious, who gets fouled on the dunk.
- Precious scrambling to grab the loose ball from Blake Griffin, the end result being a foul that sends Pascal to the line where he makes the second free throw.
- Pascal blocking Bruce Brown’s shot, with Brown trying to pass out of the rebound and throwing it off of Precious who sends it to Fred.
- Gary Trent Jr. recognizing that he doesn’t have the hot hand tonight and handing the ball back to Fred who swings it to Precious.
- Shot selection – the next possession Gary Trent Jr. finds himself in a better shooting situation and makes the basket.
- Defence to offence! Dalano with the steal, he brings it up and sets the table for the Svi make.
- Gary bucket! The lead is cut to 4!
- Gary from the top of the key! Never stressed!
- Another one! He’s got 10 in the quarter and he’s keeping Toronto in the game.
Fourth Quarter Positives:
- Svi for 3! A very necessary make to cut the Brooklyn lead to single digits.
- Pascal using his body on the inside.
- Fred finding Precious under the basket after recognizing that the defence on himself was too tight. Precious finishes and the lead again is cut to single digits.
- PRECIOUS DUNK! I told you all not to give up on him!
- Khem Birch’s Burberry sweater looks very cozy.
- Elbow Gary! If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
- Fred for 3 off of the defensive rebound!
- Fred grabbing the rebound from the OG miss and immediately swinging it to the open Svi in the corner.
- Fred with the driving bounce pass to OG in the corner for 3.
- Scottie stealing the Patty Mills pass and sending it ahead where the waiting Chris Boucher finishes in the paint.
- ANOTHER SCOTTIE STEAL AND ANOTHER OG DUNK!
- Boucher chasing Joe Harris off of the 3-point line.
- An offensive foul on Joe Harris off of the inbound. Raptors ball!
Final Score: BKN 116 – TOR 103
Positive Player of the Game: Kevin Durant