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:
- Dalano Banton is eating a banana in the tunnel right before tip off. I once saw Chad Posthumus eat a banana mid-game in his debut for the Ottawa Blackjacks and drop 23 points and 20 rebounds in an elimination game. If the science is correct, Dalano will do the same.
- Win tip! Scottie at the five? Let’s get weird!
- OG for 3 from Gary Trent Jr. The Raptors had been scoreless up until this point, so Gary giving up the open look to swing it to OG is another improvement in his playmaking.
- Pascal steals the long pass and sends it far ahead to OG for the Raptors second basket.
- Pascal exploding right to the rack past Saddiq Bey. I think the shoulder is healed.
- Scottie on his own under the basket with the swooping hook.
- Gary Trent Jr. catch and shoot 3 off of the inbound. Pascal curled to distract the defenders, leaving Gary nearly wide open.
- Scottie passing through the double team to Pascal, who feeds it to the cutting Dragic for the make and the one point lead.
- OG with the 3 immediately after the time out. It’s a 17-5 run for Toronto.
- Defensive presence equalling turnovers! A personal favourite!
- Gary Trent Jumper. Both he and OG are shooting 100% from the field 8 minutes into the quarter.
- A late whistle was called, but Dalano has been sneakily good at boxing out. The long rebound would have gone directly into the hands of Toronto because he gave the Pistons no room to get out to grab it.
- Gary hits another 3. He’s 3 for 3 from 3, but as soon as I mention this he will probably miss one. That’s what happened with OG and I blame myself.
- Dalano’s court vision to find Boucher under the basket in traffic for the slam when he very well could have driven to the basket himself.
- And on the very next possession he slams it in himself. This kid is nuts.
- Svi with the jumper! My apologies to him for not recognizing him sitting courtside with the 905.
- Banton with the 3! And Pascal gets his fourth assist of the night! Team basketball!
- Scottie with the quick rebound and pass to Siakam, who pushes it ahead to Svi for the layup.
- Pascal step-back in the high post for the make. He had his fifth assist on the Svi basket.
- Svi-bound! He hands it to Malachi who misses the 3 but Pascal grabs the rebound and gives it right back to Malachi, who makes it on the second attempt. It’s encouraging to see someone of Pascal’s stature give up his own shot to keep his teammate’s confidence up.
- Scottie leaping through the double team in the paint for the make. He’s like a very aggressive ballerina.
- Khem Birch’ court-vision. He saw Gary Trent Jr. on the fast break in transition, and knew where he would be shooting from, where it would end up if he missed, and he planted himself there, and was fouled on the second chance attempt.
- Pascal getting a technical foul for talking to the refs when Scottie was fouled multiple times on the shot. A technical isn’t a good thing, but the leadership that goes along with it certainly is.
- Gary Trent Jr. with a steal. In other news, water is wet.
- Side-step Gary to give the lead back to the Raptors, with Goran Dragic on the assist.
- Scottie starts the second half guarding Cade, and blocks his first shot attempt. When friends become enemies.
- Siakam is getting everybody involved tonight. He swings it to Dragic who sinks the 3.
- Siakam drills the step-back over Isaiah Stewart to tie the game at 71.
- Dragic poking the ball out of the grasp of Killian Hayes and sending it ahead to OG Anunoby for the lead, forcing Detroit to call a time-out.
- Shot clock violation! Defensive presence creating turnovers!
- Ball movement! Dragic swings it to Scottie who send it inside to Gary Trent Jr., who kicks it out to Siakam for 3.
- Another Dragic steal! This one comes on the possession after he hit his own 3.
- Gary grabbing the long rebound and taking it to the other end, making the jumper in transition and bringing the Raptors lead to 9.
- OG jumper immediately after a technical foul was called on Scottie. Never getting in their own heads is a new venture in Raptordom.
- Gary Trent Jr. to Khem Birch for the alley-oop/
- And a steal by Banton for a slam at the other end!
- Dragic grabbing the much needed rebound and kicking it to the outside OG who sends it inside to Pascal, drawing the foul.
- A Goran bucket to get Toronto back in the game.
- Pascal 3 off of the hand off from Dragic who initially grabbed the defensive rebound. He is trying his best and keeping his composure for someone who was banished to the bench since October.
- Dragic drive! Fourth quarter Dragic? Stranger things have happened.
- Fred standing at half-court during the ref/coach kerfuffle and clapping in their faces when the call was changed to Raptors ball.
- PASCAL SIAKAM CAME IN LIKE A WRECKING BALL.
- OG fouled on the steal! Is it a comeback?
- Pascal grabbing his 11th rebound on the Jerami Grant miss.
- Coast to coast Scottie! It’s a (much needed) 7-0 run!
- Make that a 10-0 run after Pascal dominates his way into the paint, draws the foul, and makes the free throw.
- Svi from 3!
Final Score: DET 127 – TOR 121
Positive Player of the Game: Pascal Siakam