Quick Reaction: Raptors 114, Lakers 103

Wow the Lakers suck, and the Raptors don't, so that was a pretty expected result, tbh.

Box Score

P. Siakam35 MIN, 27 PTS, 11 REB, 5 AST, 1 STL, 9-17 FG, 2-3 3FG, 7-10 FT, 1 BLK, 4 TO, +25 +/-

Running in transition used to be Siakam’s calling card, and the Lakers must have forgotten. He’s a professional tough-bucket getter, and the Lakers make it a rule that opponents attempt only easy buckets. He thrashed littles when the Lakers asked them to slow Pascal. Picked on Monk and Reaves with absolute impunity. Horton-Tucker too. Great defense. Probably was the engine of Toronto’s run-the-Lakers-over-with-a-Hummer game.

P. Achiuwa33 MIN, 10 PTS, 11 REB, 2 AST, 2 STL, 5-13 FG, 0-3 3FG, 0-0 FT, 2 BLK, 1 TO, +21 +/-

High highs and low lows. Fantastic rim protection, as is the norm for him. Some really fantastic stops with verticality. He’s so strong that he just can’t get bumped back, and he beats offenders to the spot and takes the good real estate. LeBron couldn’t get anything on him inside the arc, but he had trouble taking away James’ jumper. Offensively, he was less certain, missing difficult jumpers and easy jumpers alike. He did have a nice drive and dish to a cutting Boucher for a layup, and he was really aggressive on the offensive glass’ even when he didn’t grab them, he kept the ball alive for teammates. Finished some lobs, too!

S. Barnes40 MIN, 21 PTS, 9 REB, 5 AST, 1 STL, 9-17 FG, 1-2 3FG, 2-3 FT, 2 BLK, 2 TO, +21 +/-

He’s such an integral advantage-converter. When the Raptors run plays that involve Siakam and VanVleet, it requires a whole lot of defensive effort to put out fires, and Barnes ends up feasting in the chaos. As a poster, passer, offensive rebounder. Wonderful stuff. He had 12 points when the Lakers had four. When a poorly constructed bench unit gave up a small run for the Lakers to start the second, Barnes entered the game and immediately euro-stepped his way to an and-1 to quell the tide. Layups, layups, layups. Created them like a champion. He broke a press with ease to throw a lob to Achiuwa in the fourth.

F. VanVleet40 MIN, 11 PTS, 7 REB, 7 AST, 1 STL, 3-14 FG, 2-12 3FG, 3-4 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, +21 +/-

Really, really did not shoot well, including airballing consecutive threes late in the fourth. Still, he did what he had to do, which honestly wasn’t much. Made some smooth pick-and-roll passes, hit a few triples, and played his usual brilliant defense. Hit the paint whenever he wanted. Meh numbers, but who cares? Very unbothered win, so hard to be too upset with one of the two stars.

G. Trent Jr.36 MIN, 28 PTS, 5 REB, 3 AST, 1 STL, 7-19 FG, 3-9 3FG, 11-13 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, +9 +/-

Tough-shot maker. When the Raptors created easy shots everywhere anyway in the first half, his role became a little smaller. In the second half, he hit some contested ones, drew free throws, and made some open triples, besides. In the con column, he missed some really easy passes to teammates for uncontested buckets, including a frustrating one with Achiuwa completely alone under the rim in transition and Trent either not seeing him or not able to find a passing angle. He was talking a ton to the Lakers, and it seemed to bother them; he might be Toronto’s primary get-under-your-skin pest, taking the mantle from Serge Ibaka before him.

T. Young15 MIN, 2 PTS, 9 REB, 2 AST, 2 STL, 1-5 FG, 0-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 2 TO, -9 +/-

Kind of sloppy. His ill-timed postups got in the way of teammates’ drives. He didn’t do much to create advantages. He missed some easier looks. Did throw a cool underhand lob to Achiuwa, so all is forgiven.

C. Boucher20 MIN, 13 PTS, 8 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 5-8 FG, 2-5 3FG, 1-2 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -12 +/-

His defense was a blatant and cruel form of bullying. Came into the game with the Raptors in firm control, and the Lakers already rage quitting, and he upped the ante. Closed out hard on shooters, protected the rim, and generally made life even more miserable for the already miserable Lakers. Banged in some triples, besides. He was quieter than some of his teammates, but he he continued his streak of near-perfect play. Did not play in ideal lineups, hence his plus-minus, but he was by far the best player off the bench.

K. Birch11 MIN, 1 PTS, 3 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 0-0 FG, 0-0 3FG, 1-2 FT, 2 BLK, 0 TO, -8 +/-

He wasn’t as sharp as he has been recently, but he did shatter the ball on a Westbrook layup attempt.

D. Banton5 MIN, 1 PTS, 0 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 0-1 FG, 0-0 3FG, 1-2 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -11 +/-

Didn’t show much aggression — didn’t get to the rim, force rotations, or throw his usual array of meaty passes.

A. Brooks4 MIN, 0 PTS, 1 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 0-2 FG, 0-2 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -2 +/-

Started the fourth quarter with the Raptors up 20.

Nick Nurse

Used a challenge for Barnes! Usually he reserves it for Pascal or Fred or a really high-leverage play, but he used his tonight to reverse Barnes’ third foul. He lost, but I liked seeing him support his hottest player. I didn’t love his rotations tonight, sitting too many creators together. Thad Young probably got too many minutes if rotations were purely based on merit, but I like the idea of trying to get him going. (Even if it didn’t work.)

Things We Saw

  1. 9-0 run to start the game? Okay, I’ll take it. Los Angeles is just a soggy pile of complaints and bad decisions, but the Raptors did their job to punch them in the mouth. Transition attempts, steals, early postups, open triples: everything worked, and the Raptors didn’t play down to their opponents. 21-2 at another point. The Lakers lost the game within the first six minutes, and the rest only happened because it had to.
  2. The bench unit really did not keep the massacre going late in the first. Nick Nurse sat Barnes, Siakam, and VanVleet all together, and the Lakers went on a little run. The Raptors gave up offensive rebounds, and they didn’t work hard to create looks. The game never got close, but the bench didn’t do a good job of extending anything.
  3. LeBron threw the ball about as hard as he could (which is really, really hard) off Barnes to save it from going out of bounds, and it worked. But the very next possession? Barnes annihilated a Lakers’ shot at the rim. He will not be embarrassed. (As long as we’re talking LeBron, he also elbowed Pascal in the face. Not a banner game from him, sportsmanship-wise.)
  4. I loved Toronto’s jumbo lineup of Fred-Pascal-Scottie-Boucher-Achiuwa. Boucher and Achiuwa are turning into one of Toronto’s deadliest duos, and it’s hard to find enough minutes for them together when Achiuwa starts. This group is a great answer to that. It wasn’t, you know, great tonight. But I like it in principle, which is more of the point here.

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