Anything but easy in The Big Easy, Raps lose by 30 to Pelicans

7 mins read
Courtesy: Matthew Hinton/The Associated Press

F***ing woof.

Outside of going against Dwane “Thanos” Casey, the Raptors have been in every game since the calendar turned to 2022. With minutes skyrocketing for the starters without reliable depth and the All-Star break around the corner, Toronto was due for a stinker. Maybe Valentines Day is not the Raps thing, seeing how they are now 2-6 on February 14th. I’m now going to list some ugly stats from this game.

  • New Orleans had a season-high 36 assists. Brandon Ingram led the way with eight, which matched the Raptors. Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby were the only Raps to have multiple assists.
  • The Pelicans also shot a season best 58.4 percent from the field with the Raptors a step slow and out of sync for the entire game. Toronto countered with 30.5 which is you guessed it – the Raps worst mark this season.
  • Gary Trent Jr, Scottie Barnes and Anunoby combined to shoot 5-30. Anunoby is 5-21 in his last two games after going 4-16 vs Denver.
  • Toronto tied a season low with 90 points.

Fred has been working through nagging knee soreness lately. He made four threes in this game to give him 202 for the season, creeping up on Kyle Lowry’s franchise record of 238. He didn’t play after the third quarter for precautionary reasons.

There are a couple positives though. Pascal Siakam was fine after being poked in the eye by Herbert Jones, and led the team with only 33 minutes. It’s still unknown if Siakam will end up in Cleveland or not because Zach LaVine has also had knee issues for a while and won’t play again before the break. If not, he can sure use the rest. The other bright spot is the man Toronto got back for setting Goran Dragic free made his Raptors debut.

Thaddeus Young

Thad played 12 minutes, with four points and four rebounds (three offensive). He checked in to begin the second quarter, getting off three shots in his first five and a half minute stint. He’s definitely someone you can run short roll type offence with, something Khem Birch saw often when he was playing consistent minutes. His first basket as a Raptor came off him floating to the weak side while the defence was clued in on Pascal. Solid jump hook over Jonas Valanciunas.

On the defensive side, there was one miscommunication with Precious Achiuwa on a switch, as both stayed glued to JV which led to a wide open Garrett Temple for a corner three. That’s to be expected in the early stages from time to time.

Young re-entered to begin the fourth quarter and once again played off Pascal for pretty spinning layup. Three of his five attempts were of that variety (push shots, floaters) in the paint. He also tried an open three that missed later on.

This is only Young’s fourth game since January 1st because the Spurs went to a younger rotation. He mentioned after the game that grasping the offence won’t be too hard because being 15 years into the league, everyone is running a variation of the same stuff. However there is one new wrinkle we know well about the Raptors that Thad has already realized.

“The hardest part is I’m learning multiple positions, as opposed to one or two positions. I’m learning anywhere from the one down to the five now because all the pieces are interchangeable on the court. We have so many similar guys who can push the ball and start the break, start the plays and initiate the offence. It’s a little harder to learn the offence from every position. You try to learn five positions in one day,” Young said while letting out a laugh.

Sidenotes: Death, Taxes and JV’s

I want to cover Lithuanian Lightning a little bit, but not for the obvious reasons. As you would expect, he was a load to deal with. Nick Nurse pondered matching up lineup wise before and after the game.

I was impressed with a couple of his assists. This video shows everything, but I’m specifically highlighting the 3:06 and 3:41 mark.

First of all its hilarious years later how JV still gets guys off their feet pump faking at the three point line, this time at Scottie’s expense. But the subtle no look on the drive and kick to CJ McCollum was sweet. This was CJ’s first win as a Pelican by the way.

On JV’s fourth and final assist, he read the incoming double by Pascal to help OG out perfectly. Zipped a pass right by Chris Boucher to Jaxson Hayes for the reverse slam. These are subtle things, but those were not plays you saw often in Toronto. It’s nice to see JV add stuff to his game in an era that a lot of bigs have become extinct.

What’s Next?

Overall, the memory of a goldfish is needed for this one because the Raptors visit a talented Minnesota Timberwolves squad with another matchup problem at center in all-star Karl-Anthony Towns. Final game before the break.

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