Rap Up has Samson and Zarar:
|P. Siakam32 MIN, 30 PTS, 3 REB, 4 AST, 0 STL, 13-19 FG, 1-4 3FG, 3-5 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, +2 +/-|
Really dumb that a superstar outplaying everyone fouls out. Oh well. Ridiculous finishing in the lane, just great body control and touch. No one could stop him. Clearly, clearly the best player on the floor when the refs deemed him allowed to play. His shooting touch remains workable, as he hit a triple. He threw some sloppy outlet passes, in the con column, but that’s such a nitpicky complaint. A larger nit to pick: he couldn’t stop fouling, which kept him from hitting 40 or maybe even 50 points. But man, his offense was something else. Par for the course at this point.
|P. Achiuwa14 MIN, 6 PTS, 4 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 2-3 FG, 0-0 3FG, 2-2 FT, 1 BLK, 2 TO, -8 +/-|
Great post move to start the game, threw a bounce pass to the baseline cutter for a dunk. He scored pretty efficiently, too, around the rim — looked smooth there. Some really solid rim protection, too, meeting opponents in the restricted area after teammates gave up blowbys.
|O. Anunoby35 MIN, 13 PTS, 4 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 5-13 FG, 3-8 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, +7 +/-|
Followed his usual script: quiet early, let his teammates cook, and put his points up in the fourth quarter. He did what he had to do, nothing more, nothing less. Super overqualified to be a third option against Houston, and it seemed like he knew it tonight. Locked in on defense for like four possessions, and those small handful of possessions stepped on Houston’s collective throat. A fantastic, fantastic pass to Birch early in the fourth when he drew a crowd posting up at the free throw line.
|S. Barnes33 MIN, 9 PTS, 7 REB, 6 AST, 1 STL, 4-9 FG, 1-5 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, +7 +/-|
Terrible defense in the halfcourt and terrific defense in the fullcourt press in the first. Weird. He didn’t get many plays run for him, but that was fine because Trent and Siakam were doing so much that a possession was generally wasted if one of those two didn’t use it. Threw a lookaway lob, of course. Good passing, a nice iso down the stretch, and a triple, too. Not bad for a bad game (for him), if that makes sense.
|G. Trent Jr.37 MIN, 42 PTS, 1 REB, 4 AST, 5 STL, 15-26 FG, 6-13 3FG, 6-7 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, +9 +/-|
Unbelievably hot shooting, but he did more. Three steals in the first quarter. DIshed great passes. Ran the offense with Fred VanVleet out, and he did a solid job. He really needs to improve his handle in order to really take his ability to punish defenses to the next level. Still, his shooting was outrageous, so it hardly mattered tonight. Good finishing at the rim, too, which is a key indicator for his future development.
|C. Boucher23 MIN, 16 PTS, 5 REB, 0 AST, 1 STL, 4-8 FG, 1-2 3FG, 7-8 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, +17 +/-|
Have we talked about how good he’s been recently? Yeah, he’s been great. Attacked the offensive glass and used his body well, not just his length. Not that the Raptors were good defensively, but he wasn’t the issue there. As has become the norm, the Raptors annihilated the Rockets in his minutes. Oh, and he tossed in a buzzer-beating triple to end the third quarter. Great stuff.
|Y. Watanabe6 MIN, 3 PTS, 0 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 1-2 FG, 1-2 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, +3 +/-|
His trademark hustle which has been so lacking recently was back. A ridiculous block above the rim.
|K. Birch16 MIN, 2 PTS, 4 REB, 1 AST, 2 STL, 1-2 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, +17 +/-|
The mask was back. A monster dunk! He’s looking extraordinarily athletic these days. Some big blocks, too. Threw a no-look, over-the-shoulder pass for a three! He could have done some more defensive rebounding, to be fair. It’s unfortunate that Birch is the third center in Toronto’s rotation. He’s playing super well these days in extremely low minutes, but the Raptors have a bunch of bigs (and more on the way in Thad Young), and Birch is on the outside looking in, minutes-wise. It’s not unfair, persay — Boucher and Achiuwa have earned their minutes — but it is unfortunate.
|M. Flynn22 MIN, 8 PTS, 5 REB, 3 AST, 2 STL, 3-6 FG, 2-2 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, +23 +/-|
A very sneaky rebound stealer! Hit a few triples, tossed some dimes. Wasn’t super visible on the court, but the Raptors massively won his minutes. Hit a miracle triple after a busted possession in the fourth — if his handle had been tighter, he could’ve created some separation, and wouldn’t have needed a miracle, but he hit it, so I shouldn’t complain.
|D. Banton20 MIN, 10 PTS, 4 REB, 3 AST, 0 STL, 5-8 FG, 0-3 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, +17 +/-|
Really great pace. He’s at his best when he’s doing the Lowry move of always forcing the ball down opponents’ throats, pushing after makes and misses, and he is also gigantic, which makes him a great finisher in transition. He was solid in the halfcourt, too, tossing in a smooth, extendo-arm layup in the early fourth that looked too good to be true from a second-round rookie.
His guys balled out for 20 minutes, and played meh for 20 minutes, and paid zero attention for eight minutes. And they rolled a far, far inferior team. I was at least happy that Yuta and Malachi got time! Dalano looks to be entrenched in the rotation, and he’s played wonderfully recently. He was the real winner of the trade deadline for Toronto. But Nurse probably left the bench in the game two or three possessions two long, and the game got closer than it had to with five minutes left. I mean, who cares though. The Raps won, and they won convincingly.
Things We Saw
- The defense was very sloppy to start the game, allowing Kevin Porter jr. to score 11 straight and then Garrison Matthews to get hot in the first. Just overlooking a bad opponent. Houston’s was worse. At one point Houston was shooting 12 of 16 from the floor and losing.
- First-half minutes for Banton, Watanabe, and Flynn! Fun! And the bench ended up delivering the knockout blow early in the fourth quarter. Really solid performance — against an underwhelming team, sure — from a number of guys who haven’t had many of them recently.
- First time all year with two players reaching the 30-point mark. One even got to 40! Pretty, pretty cool. And with ease, too. If the game had been closer (and had fewer fouls on Siakam), they both could have gone for 40.