Quick Reaction: Pelicans 101, Raptors 105

6 mins read
Photo: Cole Burston / Getty Images

Snatching victory from the jaws of victory.

Pelicans 101 Final
Box Score
105 Raptors

P. Siakam43 MIN, 29 PTS, 10 REB, 7 AST, 2 STL, 8-18 FG, 3-5 3FG, 10-10 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, +12 +/-

Like a motorcycle zipping its way between cars in a traffic jam, Siakam has become the ultimate all-rounder who appears to have defenses at his mercy. He’s realized that there are few situations where he’ll be compelled to settle for a subpar shot, and that confidence has made him aggressive and explicit in his intentions. Big reason the Raptors were able to ultimately win this was because of his tireless work in the post and decisiveness on the drives in half-court. He carried them.

O. Anunoby35 MIN, 12 PTS, 5 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 5-12 FG, 2-6 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, +6 +/-

Very much on the periphery in terms of being an offensive focal point so he’s got to pick his spots, which he did well enough in the first half. Checking Brandon Ingram is also a chore so his work tonight was on the defensive side, where he, at times, was checking four different guys (including JV) on the same possession.

S. Barnes33 MIN, 7 PTS, 4 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 3-10 FG, 1-3 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, +4 +/-

A Charmin’ ultra-soft touch leaner and a Kawhiesque three replete with rim kisses. Got a couple post-up opportunities but his work was mostly in defensive situations out on the perimeter as the Raptors desire to switch 1-4 kept him busy. Didn’t look much for his shot and like OG was kept busy defensively by the Pelicans who moved the ball very well.

K. Birch21 MIN, 6 PTS, 4 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 2-4 FG, 0-0 3FG, 2-3 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -8 +/-

Got the hook after picking up early fouls, but did have a nice little push shot early as he combined well with Fred in pick ‘n pop situations. Kept JV away from the rim early and after a long hiatus, was productive in the final stretch. His fresh legs turned out to be the asset that a tired Boucher and Achiuwa needed.

F. VanVleet39 MIN, 32 PTS, 4 REB, 4 AST, 2 STL, 11-27 FG, 8-17 3FG, 2-2 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, -10 +/-

There are no limits to his range and he has zero hesitation in shooting deep threes regardless of the shot-clock situation, adding an element of surprise for the defense. The abundance of ball-handling means he’s got ample opportunities to spot up meaning he’s got his legs under his long-range shots. Made the two-man game work with Birch, Boucher and Achiuwa, catering the passes to each of their tendencies. Finally, made life miserable for JV in the first half by doubling from unseen places. What a player.

C. Boucher28 MIN, 6 PTS, 8 REB, 1 AST, 2 STL, 2-5 FG, 0-2 3FG, 2-2 FT, 1 BLK, 1 TO, -2 +/-

Hardly an elegant offensive game but worked tirelessly and had three big plays with under two minutes: a block, a tidy finish and a huge rebound on a shot which would’ve tied it. This was a game where he had to platoon with Achiuwa to stop JV and the two were on the same page. Well done.

P. Achiuwa27 MIN, 6 PTS, 9 REB, 0 AST, 1 STL, 3-6 FG, 0-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 2 BLK, 1 TO, +12 +/-

After a slow start Achiuwa was on the bench when Birch picked up his fourth. That’s when Nick Nurse called on him and he responded with a vast improvement: grabbing contested rebounds against JV, finishing the plays he’s supposed to finish, and maintaining an active defensive posture making use of his length and mobility.

S. Mykhailiuk14 MIN, 7 PTS, 2 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 2-3 FG, 0-0 3FG, 3-3 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, +6 +/-

Pop in his step coming off screens and awareness of the shooters on his drives. Had a terrific first stint. The second was a bit of a drop-off, especially when he missed OG streaking down the lane for an easy two. Still, good minutes with solid ball-handling and did well in not letting the ball get stuck.

Nick Nurse

Doubled JV on nearly every early opportunity knowing the sometimes-indecisive big man would make questionable reads, which he did. Made JV look for the double on first touch, which made him rush his moves throwing off the mind-muscle connection. I like the commitment of leveraging the size to post-up guys and work from there, though it doesn’t obviously pay dividends all the time. Was forced to switch it up and go to Achiuwa/Boucher against JV, and it paid off. Managed Khem well so he could help late in the game. Good use of zone to throw off the Pelicans briefly who didn’t have much trouble breaking us down.

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