Quick Reaction: Cavaliers 104, Raptors 117

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Courtesy: Ken Blaze/USA TODAY Sports
Cavaliers 104 Final
Box Score
117 Raptors

A+
P. Siakam32 MIN, 35 PTS, 5 REB, 6 AST, 0 STL, 12-20 FG, 6-7 3FG, 5-5 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, +9 +/-

Was quiet early as Toronto looked to establish Barnes and Anunoby before him out of the gate. But shot the seam off the ball from the corner in the first. SPRINTED in transition when Barnes had the ball, and passed the hell out of the ball against a zone (though the corner triples he created didn’t fall). Was by far far far the best player on the court to close it. Superstar stuff.

A+
O. Anunoby26 MIN, 14 PTS, 2 REB, 3 AST, 0 STL, 4-11 FG, 4-8 3FG, 2-2 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, +5 +/-

He just solves so many problems on this roster even when he’s not at 100 percent. Airballed his first shot back, which was a fairly open corner three, but then he erased a layup in transition the other way, so all’s fair. The splashed a triple from the other corner. Hit everything in his second stint, and Toronto was penetrating so deep in the paint on every drive that his corner threes were modern-kitchen-layout open. Ridiculous defense, too, making the court look like a court for ants.

A-
S. Barnes35 MIN, 11 PTS, 6 REB, 4 AST, 2 STL, 4-9 FG, 0-2 3FG, 3-4 FT, 1 BLK, 2 TO, +4 +/-

What’s the opposite of gun shy? He might have been too aware of the moment in the first minutes of the game, if that makes sense. Cleaned his act up in transition with a nice give and go with Anunoby before muscling in a lefty layup. Threw a boatload of no-look passes, mostly good, and did a great job shrinking the court on defense. Answered a Mobley highlight dunk with an even highlighter dunk the other way.

B-
K. Birch13 MIN, 4 PTS, 2 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 2-3 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -4 +/-

Did his Khem thing. Was in the right spot on defense almost all the time. Cleaned up his timing in the pick and roll hugely from the first half to the second.

B-
F. VanVleet39 MIN, 10 PTS, 5 REB, 8 AST, 1 STL, 4-9 FG, 2-5 3FG, 0-0 FT, 2 BLK, 1 TO, +15 +/-

Wasn’t creating advantages out of the pick and roll early. In the second, the Raps moved him off ball for some successful plays, including an Iverson cut to get some movement into a pick and roll. (It worked so well they kept going to it). His defense really left a lot on the table from what we’re used to, and he had a lot of trouble getting any space to get his shot off. Still helping the team, but not to nearly the same degree as has become expected from him.

A-
T. Young15 MIN, 8 PTS, 4 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 4-6 FG, 0-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, +7 +/-

Smart play around the edges. Dimed up a Boucher three in the second that saw him taking a couple extra probing steps into the paint to create extra space. His defense was really tight tonight, sharp rotations, quick hands. Great pick-and-roll chemistry with Fred.

A+
C. Boucher33 MIN, 17 PTS, 8 REB, 0 AST, 3 STL, 6-12 FG, 2-4 3FG, 3-4 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, +19 +/-

Some incredible contests at the rim all game. He didn’t get credited for blocks, but he made opponents shoot over him, and that’s, uhh, hard. Crazy efficient from the floor, too. He’s on a how many game hot streak? Like, 20? Man, what a great game within a great stretch of games. It was NOT a coincidence that he led the team in plus-minus (as he has a LOT recently).

B
P. Achiuwa22 MIN, 10 PTS, 4 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 3-10 FG, 0-3 3FG, 4-4 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, +8 +/-

Looked like he might have fallen asleep on his very first defensive possession of the game (though it could have been Boucher, it was hard to see) and gave up an and-1 trying to recover. Also blocked Mobley, which I had thought impossible, so he made up for it. Really inefficient from the floor, but he did throw a great pass to a 45-cutting Barnes for a huge jam. Not his best outing, but big part of a big win, especially on the defensive end, so hard to blame him.

Inc
Y. Watanabe2 MIN, 0 PTS, 0 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 0-1 FG, 0-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -2 +/-

Garbage time.

Inc
D. Banton2 MIN, 2 PTS, 1 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 1-1 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -2 +/-

Garbage time.

Inc
S. Mykhailiuk2 MIN, 0 PTS, 0 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 0-1 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -2 +/-

Garbage time.

A+
A. Brooks19 MIN, 6 PTS, 3 REB, 1 AST, 2 STL, 2-6 FG, 2-6 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 2 TO, +8 +/-

Played solid, smart defense. Rotated well. He runs the schemes like a multi-year vet. Made the extra pass. When his 3s started falling, he became the perfect bench piece. He’s fitting perfectly into his lineups. Incredible block from behind in transition during the third quarter, which sparked a triple on the next possession.

A+
Nick Nurse

Tight, tight, tight. Good, clean rotations. Great gameplans on both ends. Good usage of VanVleet offensively when it was clear he wouldn’t create advantages on ball. Unreal coaching game, truly.

Things We Saw

  1. The foursome of Pascal, Scottie, Boucher, and Precious is frankly unfair. Their defensive versatility, length, switchability, and contests really changed the texture of the game. They played Toronto back into the game in the first quarter and really closed off the defensive end. Incredible stuff.
  2. Thad looked fantastic alongside some better lineups. Especially when he could play power forward / center alongside Boucher, he was unlocked. This was without a doubt his best game as a Raptor considering his impact on both ends, and it unsurprisingly came as he played alongside some of the most talented and better-fitting groups since his arrival, too.
  3. Fred is very injured. He’s trying super hard, man, and he’s helping the team. Anyone who says he’s hurting the team with his play is wrong. But the extent to which he’s helping is just significantly lower than usual. Which is concerning! If Fred isn’t himself by the playoffs, the Raptors are not the Raptors. He’s so definitive to their identity and style of play, and it’ll be hard to win a series without him being one of the best two or three players on the court. Props to him for fighting through and still putting in the work, seriously. But it sucks that he’s not healthy at the most important time, for him and the team. Best not to focus on this after a huge win, but something to keep in mind.

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