Quick Reaction: Blazers 118, Raptors 113

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Image: Sam Forencich/Getty Images

Kyle, Sahal, Zarar:

Raptors 113 Final
Box Score
118 Trail Blazers

B-
P. Siakam39 MIN, 20 PTS, 6 REB, 6 AST, 0 STL, 7-15 FG, 2-6 3FG, 4- FT, 1 BLK, 2 TO, +5 +/-

As he did against Detroit, he made immediate choices on offense, whether launching jumpers, swinging the ball, or attacking the rim. He was especially good as a roller, which is a skill he has yet to develop, so that was a really nice thing to see. But his handle was a scooch sloppy, as he turned over a pass in the pick and roll with Birch. Athletically, he looked great, bursting into open spaces on the drive. Defensively, he was far from his best self, giving up lots of dribble penetration and not doing nearly enough to contest shots. As with everyone else — it’s hard to judge someone who was excellent offensively and horrible defensively.

A
O. Anunoby41 MIN, 29 PTS, 6 REB, 2 AST, 3 STL, 9-19 FG, 6-10 3FG, 6- FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 0 +/-

He started in the post and promptly hit a one-legged fadeaway over Norm, then drilled a pair of triples, one pull-up, one catch-and-shoot. Then he went berserk, hitting everything, triples from everywhere. He remained smart though, not just heat checking every time he touched it. He still bullied smaller defenders in the post and passed to teammates who were more open. He lost some of the juice after the second quarter, but he remained effective the few times he did touch the ball.

B
S. Barnes40 MIN, 18 PTS, 8 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 6-14 FG, 0-1 3FG, 6- FT, 0 BLK, 3 TO, -7 +/-

He guarded Jusuf Nurkic out of the gate, which is ostensibly a big ask for a former college point guard. But Barnes was more than up to the task, meeting him high, using his length to deny post position, helping liberally, and still blocking out (finally!) for rebounds. At one point he defended Lillard perfectly, forcing the guard to simply fall over onto himself, and he was whistled for a nonsense foul and then a nonsense-ier technical immediately after. Good for Barnes. Offensively he seemed to lack some of his usual oomph, but he still cut well for opportunistic layups and got his hands on a few offensive rebounds. Of course, his passing remained elite, throwing some darts through the teeth of the defense. He made some costly, costly mistakes down the stretch, but it’s good for rookies to get that experience.

C+
F. VanVleet40 MIN, 16 PTS, 6 REB, 7 AST, 2 STL, 6-13 FG, 4-8 3FG, 0- FT, 1 BLK, 5 TO, +6 +/-

Is Fred the premier closer in the league now? What the hell? He hit some wild, moonball pull-up triples to will Toronto back into the game in the fourth. He was quiet before that. He let OG Anunoby play lead fiddle to start the game, just chipping in to pass the ball and attack rotations. He threw some great passes out of the pick and roll to a variety of screeners, including Birch and Siakam, but his decision making slid in the second half, as he turned down shots and threw a few turnovers. Defensively, he didn’t do his usual wonderful work, giving up dribble penetration and not creating his usual number of turnovers. This is an A+ if Toronto won, but alas.

A
G. Trent Jr.40 MIN, 18 PTS, 6 REB, 1 AST, 2 STL, 8-16 FG, 2-6 3FG, 0- FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, +9 +/-

His teammates were cooking in the first quarter, so he stayed quiet and let them work. He did his work off the ball, hitting open triples and making simple one-dribble pull-ups after his teammates put the defense in rotation. That’s probably the best role for him, as he was hyper efficient for the second game in a row.

D+
K. Birch21 MIN, 6 PTS, 4 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 3-6 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0- FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -10 +/-

He ran a picture-perfect pick and roll with VanVleet on his first possession of the game, and those plays are the simple meat and potatoes of the offensive diet that Toronto needs. He’s such a great passer when he catches the ball in the heart of the floor, seeming to read where all his shooters are with the speed of a Marc Gasol-type. He was Toronto’s only active player on the offensive glass, but he was fairly inefficient trying to put them back. Ultimately, his inability to score efficiently outweighed all the other offensive positives. He also didn’t do nearly enough to bother Portland’s star guys by stepping up against the pick and roll.

A-
M. Flynn3 MIN, 3 PTS, 2 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 1-1 FG, 0-0 3FG, 2- FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -7 +/-

He took Banton’s usual minutes in the second half, to end the third quarter, and he went on a huge stretch! Drew free throws, grabbed his own rebound, and then finished a nifty floating layup to end the quarter. Hey, he may not play much, but he did the best he could with the minutes he got.

C-
D. Banton8 MIN, 0 PTS, 0 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 0-2 FG, 0-1 3FG, 0- FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -7 +/-

After a ridiculously poor defensive outing in his last game, Banton committed an unnecessary foul on his first possession of the game trying to overplay a pass. That happens, especially to rookies. But he missed a layup early and committed a charge on another one. Then he lost his minutes in the second half.

C-
S. Mykhailiuk8 MIN, 3 PTS, 1 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 1-3 FG, 1-1 3FG, 0- FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -14 +/-

Even after not touching the ball for a whack of possessions in a row after checking in, he stayed active, cutting well and with force. Eventually he caught one in the corner and promptly drilled it. That’s so valuable. But then he missed an uncontested layup in the fourth, and if you’re gonna be a pro scorer, you have to convert, them’s the breaks.

B-
Nick Nurse

This is a good defensive team, and yet they’ve been playing putrid defense for the first 44 minutes of the last two games. That has to sit on the coach’s shoulders, to some extent. Still, Toronto ran some excellent, crisp sets on the offensive end, and Nurse was extremely creative with the pick-and-roll combinations the team ran. It’s hard to judge a coach in a game like this. The rotations were young Schwarzenegger tight, with all five starters playing around 40 minutes. That’s not a good thing.

Things We Saw

  1. If the starting lineup of VanVleet, Trent, Anunoby, Siakam, Barnes is going to tear the roof off offensively, then Toronto’s ceiling continues inching higher. It helps, of course, when Siakam and Anunoby hit all their triples — Toronto made seven in the first quarter! — but there was a lot more going on than just made jumpers. They were wide open! That meant Toronto was running really clean sets to create them. VanVleet ran smooth pick and rolls and pushed the pace in transition to create advantages. Siakam and Barnes made instant decisions. They set themselves up for offensive success better than they have all season, and the results followed.
  2. Toronto’s defense was horrific once again, at least until the last few minutes. No one could contain the dribble, and Portland made everything inside the arc. If teams don’t turn it over, Toronto hasn’t proven with consistency that they can force misses from high-level offenses. No one played at his usual standard (other than maybe Barnes).
  3. I had a lot of trouble grading this game. Guys played so well offensively! I guess this game really comes down to “are you happy that they played really well at something they’re usually worse at (halfcourt offense) or sad that they played really poorly at something that they’re usually good at (halfcourt defense)? My grades reflect my indecision in answering that question, but ultimately, Fred and Pascal need to be much better on the defensive end, so no matter their offensive successes, that’s expected of them. They have to delver on both ends because their regular performance is so great. They’re victims of their own success at this point, grades-wise.

1 Comment

  1. This was an upside down where our half court offence often inconsistent was quite good most of the game !! The Raptors defence, usually their foundation was their worst of the season ! It was like a sieve, with the Blazers penetrating the paint at will with probably the BEST back court, duo in the NBA, Lillard and McCollum who combined for 53 PTS as compared to the Raptors backcourt of Trent JR and Van Vleet, with 34 PTS ! The Raptors decimated bench was outscored by 37-12 ! Our biggest Centre Precious Achiuwa has been out for 2 games with an upper body injury and the other centre Khem birch has not been right all season for a couple of reasons, first he is over but still recovering from Covid last summer but recovering ❤️‍, getting your game legs and stamina is a slow process, interrupted by a knee strain leaving it tender, further limiting his motion ! When healthy, like he was for the last 38 games at the end of last year he did an amazing job on O and D with great rebounding, passing, rim protection and dramatically improved shoot, even the 3’s ! The key is time and patience ! Even rehabbing he will give it his all . The bench also has been without Yuta Watanabe, 220 LBS one of the most promising Bigs , quick, great defender, shooter, very smart, rim protectors who spent most of last summer practicing with the Japanese Olympic Team averaging 18 PTS , great defender, and rebounder !who can play the 3 or 4 !! Between players hurt, recovering and so many young and new to the team, there will be inevitable ups and downs, reflected in the majority of games being very close and always just over or under 500 ball all things considered things have gone reasonably well thanks to a talented tough starting core which also includes the Rookie who leads all the rookies in almost most statistical categories !! He has great energy, attitude and is always trying to improve ! He is liked by all, and has scary upside !! The future is encouraging and should continue to improve ! As a fanatic Raptor fan and totally a basketball junkie I’ve seen every Raptor Game since the very beginning, while teaching and coaching B-Ball for 31 years, and attending about 30 Basketball clinics many by some of the greats like John Wooten the coach of the UCLA Bruins who won a RECORD 11 Consecutive NCAA Championships and Jack Donahue the 35 year coach of the Canadian Mens National Team ! The more you learn, the more you realize how much there is to learn ! Other than the Championship Year I’m more excited about this year than any other year because of the depth of talent, height, wing span, intelligence and TEAM chemistry !! In this game, DEFENCE was the killer problem, hampered by nagging injuries which take time to recover from especially Pascal, Fred, and Khem, still healing ❤️‍ and the youth and limited experience of all the rookies who have shown great upside and because of the depth of talent, there will be continued battles and frustration for playing time but things will work out in the long run ! STAY OPTIMISTIC, ENJOY, and give it your all !!! Making mistakes is the best way of learning and that will hold true for the rest of your lives ! Who knew what was going to happen in this game where the Raptors with the BEST ROAD record vs the Blazers with the BEST ROAD record ! With this game being the Blazers second game in a back to back, ,there was serious talk of their leader Damian Lillard not even playing because of nagging injuries ! As he proved no one is more dangerous than a wounded player, as reflected by a great line of 24 PTS, 4 Reb’s, 8 A’s, 2 STLS,and 1BLK,3TO’S and a TEAM +7 ! Another key starter was the BIG Centre Nurkic, although scoring only 5 PTS he dominated the boards with 14 HUGE REB’S, Providing punishing rim protection and brutal screens as evidenced by poor OG cutting around an opponent ran into brick WALL rattling his teeth so loudly It could be heard in your family room !! The other part of the Blazers DEAD ly duo CJ McCollum with a superb line of 29 PTS, 3 Reb’s, 6 A’s, 1 STL, 2 BLKS, 2 TO’S and -3 ! The other 2 starters included Raptor’s favourite son “ STORMIN NORMAN POWWEL with a line of 12 PTS,4 Reb’s, 1 A’s, and 1 STL, and -3 ! The final starter, and team leader in blocks Covington with a line of 11 PTS, 3 Reb’s, 2 A’s, and 3 BLKS ! Larry Nance JR led the bench with 15 PTS, 5 Reb’s 2 A’s, 2 TO’S and a +6 because of his great D centred on containing his man and CONTESTING, EVERY SHOT, things that the Raps did only sporadically !!! The STATS as usual divulge the blatantly obvious like maybe the most important single stat, FG% Blazers 56%, Raptors 46% !!! When you allow your opponent to shoot a ridiculous 56% and your only shooting 46%, there is little chance of winning unless there are enough favourable stats, which there almost are : in FTS the Raptors made 16 as compared to 10 for the Blazers, despite the Blazers having more healthy Bigs both Teams are Tied at 39 in total rebounds, which in my mind a win, considering how hard they battled on the glass ! I look forward to the next time we play them when we are healthy, and have several more games for game time experience ! The single most import stat is A’s, which they did a great job with in Q1 with 8 and if continued would result in 32 if continued which would almost guarantee a WIN !!! So with 8 Reb’s in Q1 and a measly 20 for the game meaning the Raptors averaged only 4 A’s every 12 minutes hitch means 1 yes 1 A’s every 3 minutes !! If the Raptors really want to win be a team player, only take QUALITY shots, stop dribbling around in the crowds often resulting in costly unnecessary TO’s ! Stop forcing contested, off balance, or low% shots ! Be a TEAM player and stop forced hero ‍♂️ LOSER ball !! The Raptors in Q1 played magnificent TEAM ball with the ball popping around 3 or 4 times til some on was wide open AND they are smart enough to get the ball to the hot shooter which happened to be OG Anunoby who was 6/10 on 3’s in this game and in Q1 he was wide open more often because o the player spread, and the continual ball movement! The message here for all Raptors but stay spread and ALL Game not just in 1 QUARTER !!! the Raps on the STLS 7-7 but lost the BLKS 2-7 , considering the size disadvantage ! The Raps won the battle for FBK PTS 20-13 !! The Blazers starters, were outscored by the Raptors starters by 101-81 !! On the other hand the Raptor bench decimated with injuries lost to the Blazers bench 37-12 !! That wii dramatically turn around with the return of Precious Achiuwa at 6’8” 240 LBS, Khem Birch returning to full health and the long awaited return, who is huge force and a great leader when healthy , and the new and improved Yuta Watanabe having really grown his game practicing with and being a leader on the Japanese National Olympic Team where he was a leading scorer and rebounder and playmaker, another quick 6’8” player also with another 7’+ wingspan ! This bench when healthy may be the biggest most skilled ever which will take a huge load off the starters and when injuries occur there will be lots of talent to choose from ! This team is very deep including the 2 way contracts that often find themselves on a standard regular team contract !! His years 2 way contracts are held by Louisville Cardinals high scoring guard David Johnson, and the Pittsburg Panthers Champagne a 6’6” wing with an uncanny gift for getting rebounds while being a consistent double digit scorer as proven by being the ONLY Rookie in the entire NCAA to AVERAGE a DBLE DBLE !! To finish off we’ll look at the contributions of individual Raptors, starting with the top scorer OG with a line of 29 PTS, 6 Reb’s, 2As, and 3 STLS , followed by Pascal Siakam, with a line of 20 PTS 6 Reb’s, 6 A’s, on 7/15, FG’s and 2/6 on 3’s, 1 BLK 2 TO’s in only his third game back a team +5 !! His d still suffers because hi game shape legs and stamina both which will take time to return to normal when Pascal is a good defender and does well at containing HIS Check especially when he plays 2-3 steps back from his check which will significantly reduce the number of careless fouls PS gets when he is too close to his check so when he takes 1 Quick check step you instinctively REACH OUT = automatic FOUL leading to early BONUS and increased chances of fouling OUT of the game, BUT its the players Responsibiliy to keep himself IN the GAME !!! Blowing 3-4 wins or fewer can cost you your playoff seeding or even making the Playoffs which is what you work so hard for ALL YEAR !!! The players MUST be MORE Disciplined and SMART !!! Scottie Barnes had a better game, with his thumb healing ❤️‍ and his game legs and stamina et close to normal !! His line was 18 PTS 8 Reb’s and 2A’s on an inefficient 6/14 and 0/1 on 3’s, so Barnes should make better shot selection trying only QUALITY shots, and rather dribbling around dangerous in crowds, which leads to COSTLY TO’S !! If there is no Quality shot OR line or gap to drive the hoop the PASS to open teammate being a TEAM PLAYER . He had 3 TO’S and -7 !! Next Fred VV, with a line of 16 PTS, 6 Reb’s and 7 A’s, 2 STLS, 1 BLK and 5 unnecessary COSTLY TO’s mainly because of far too much unnecessary dribbling in through the bigs with arms and legs on top of giving your opponent 5 yes 5 EXTRA possessions and chances to score which possibly contributed to the TEAM’S loss !! Only take QUALITY SHOTS !! Dribble less and PASS MORE !! He did make some great crucial shots in the crunch !! Khem Birch gave it his all , despite still recovering from a lower body injury but still over 21 minutes played tough D and a line of 6 PTS, 1 Rebound and 4 A’s and 0 TO’S !! Flynn for the second game in a row accomplished so much in 4 minutes game and all the way down to a ridiculous 3 whole minutes, but yet again he accomplished more in 3 minutes than many players accomplish in 6-8 minutes ! His line again was impressive with 3 PTS 2 Reb’s and o TO’s !! With a tired injured Fred being again played 40 minutes is in my opinion reckless because it mirrors exactly what the coaches did last year in a longer schedule which last year led to an avalanche of injuries, and the killing blow was Covid 19 sweeping through the team leading to a brilliant decision to play the young players which resulted in great play by most of the youngsters led by the quick tenacious leadership of Malachi Flynn !! Also in hi final yar he was awarded the LEAGUE MVP and named the Leagues TOP DEFENSIVE PLAYER ! He also led the NATION with the BEST ASSIST to TO RATIO ! Look at his total body of work , because if given some respectable minutes he will not only help the team win but will do much more good ! If reducing Fred’s minutes to about 30 minutes and his play will be sharper and he will be much more likely to stay healthy, which is crucial to the long term success of the TEAM ! Delano Bantan after shining in most games , like many of his teammates was banged about by this very large and physical play made it difficult for most Raptors ! He didn’t back away and fearlessly attacked the rim a couple of times, and was his usual relentless work on D ! SVI in his 8 minutes hit 1 3 and had 1 Reb, worked hard on sharp cuts, BUT did miss an uncontested layup as did 2-3 other Raptors not using the board high enough to easily drop into the hoop !! The Raps fought really hard BUT made too many mistakes and had probably their worst man Defence of the season ! WE THE NORTH !!! WE THE CHAMPS !!! GO RAPS GO !!!

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