|O. Anunoby38 MIN, 13 PTS, 9 REB, 0 AST, 1 STL, 5-14 FG, 3-6 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, 4 +/-|
Forced his offense. He continued missing most of his shots, especially his pullups and turnarounds from short midrange. His looks weren’t terrible, but his pace didn’t seem natural. But his catch-and-shoot triples and defense were such that he was still a fairly major positive. He couldn’t plug Toronto’s holes on the defensive end on his own, but he at least tried. Made a few mistakes of his own, sure, but by and large he was Toronto’s only committed defender until after the Koloko dustup.
|S. Barnes13 MIN, 11 PTS, 2 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 5-9 FG, 0-1 3FG, 1-3 FT, 1 BLK, 1 TO, -8 +/-|
Attacked the offensive glass. Sealed deep in the paint. Really aggressive in the post. He takes space until people stop him, and that’s such a benefit to Toronto. More paint touches, more layups, more open triples: it accomplishes so much. Barnes is a visionary passer, but he’s at his best when using his passing as a counter, trying to create advantages as a scorer first — that’s where he was against Miami. Then he turned his ankle midway through the second quarter and left the court. Was tremendous before that point.
|P. Siakam40 MIN, 23 PTS, 8 REB, 9 AST, 1 STL, 8-19 FG, 0-2 3FG, 7-8 FT, 1 BLK, 1 TO, -5 +/-|
His offensive process was confident early, creating advantages, getting past initial defenders, and slipping the ball to teammates. He took very similar shots as he did in the first few games, but they didn’t fall to the same extent in this one. He struggled to guard his doppelfinisher, Jimmy Butler. A quiet game for him, and then he was almost at a triple double? Man is crazy.
|G. Trent Jr.39 MIN, 23 PTS, 1 REB, 2 AST, 2 STL, 7-18 FG, 5-12 3FG, 4-6 FT, 1 BLK, 1 TO, -6 +/-|
Nice defensive awareness early, helping Fred VanVleet very early in the post against Bam Adebayo and helping contribute to the turnover. A steal in the open court playing the passing lanes, too. When he purely catches and fires, he’s fully one of the best shooters in basketball. Forced to put the ball on the floor, he’s good, but the efficiency drops immediately. He hit some clutch buckets to pull Toronto within eight in the final period, but he had a few chances to get them closer and couldn’t cash in. Also seemed to get hurt at the end of the game.
|F. VanVleet39 MIN, 7 PTS, 2 REB, 10 AST, 3 STL, 2-9 FG, 1-6 3FG, 2-2 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 6 +/-|
Stood up Bam Adebayo in the post early, which — I’m not sure if I was surprised or not. His hands are basically the five-point palm exploding heart technique. Once again settled for mostly filling in as a connective passer, cutter, and occasional pick-and-roll initiator. Unlike in games 1 and 2, it didn’t work out great for much of the game. He recorded a lot of fouls and not a lot of buckets. Passed well, at the very least. He used Koloko’s unjust ejection as a real source of motivation, immediately hitting a triple and stealing the ball. But it wasn’t enough.
|P. Achiuwa34 MIN, 18 PTS, 11 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 5-9 FG, 2-5 3FG, 6-7 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 16 +/-|
Drilled a corner triple to hurt the Heat as soon as they went to zone — when Siakam left the game. Important shot for Achiuwa’s confidence and for Toronto’s offensive approach. Hit one from the other side soon thereafter. His pace and decision making were much improved, and he picked his spots to create for himself rather than using every opportunity — was really efficient off the dribble in late-clock situations. Defensively he was really strong in the second half. His movement is just so fluid, and he’s so big and strong, it’s crazy. His best game of the young season, even if Toronto recorded its worst. Outplayed Bam Adebayo, which is the most important thing, right?
|C. Koloko12 MIN, 1 PTS, 2 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 0-0 FG, 0-0 3FG, 1-2 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -5 +/-|
More early minutes; more trust from Nurse in the rookie. He set solid screens, making good contact to open space for VanVleet. Started in Barnes’ place in the second half, which is great for development for the rookie. He also got … tackled by Caleb Martin? And ejected for it. I mean, he’s a rookie? Hard to find another explanation. It’s a shame because I was excited to see him alongside the starters for extra minutes. The grade is mostly for sticking up for himself.
|D. Banton06 MIN, 3 PTS, 0 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 1-2 FG, 1-2 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, -3 +/-|
Attacked the offensive glass immediately upon entering the game. Good. Really calm, confident catch-and-shoot triple. That’s about as big as it can get for his development as a prospect. On the negative side, he didn’t even try to hit the paint, which is where the majority of his utility comes from. Needs to get that preseason aggression back.
|T. Young11 MIN, 4 PTS, 2 REB, 0 AST, 2 STL, 2-3 FG, 0-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -15 +/-|
Played alongside Siakam, Barnes, and Achiuwa and — wouldn’t you know — he made an immediate impact. Good offensive rebounding, finishing in transition, and handsy handsy defense. Still though, he needs to be winning his minutes, and Toronto decidedly didn’t.
|M. Flynn08 MIN, 6 PTS, 0 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 2-4 FG, 2-4 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 1 +/-|
Entered the game, hit a triple. Another in the fourth. Nice start to his season. He was used entirely as an off-ball cutter and spacer, which is really the only way he’s getting run in meaningful games. Did well in that role, too. Set a nice screen for Siakam in the 4-1 ghost that the Raptors have been running so much. Not a lot of run, but he has to be very happy with his success with his minutes.
He asked Koloko to quarterback a zone in the second quarter, and even though the Heat scored, they did so on fairly difficult shots. I like Nurse tossing Koloko into the fire — different fires — and seeing how he performed. But ultimately, games are about winning, not incremental development for second-round rookies, and the Raptors were not ready for this one. Their minds weren’t in it on the defensive end especially. That has to fall on Nurse in some way. The comeback failed after the Koloko ejection, as the hole was too deep.
Things We Saw
- The Raptors were hammering the post early. Barnes, Siakam, and Anunoby were all attacking the paint without the ball, as it should be. Even when it didn’t always turn into points, the process was immaculate. But when the Heat didn’t stop scoring, the Raptors went away from the post in the second quarter. And by the time Barnes left the game with injury, the advantage evaporated. Still, a good thing early.
- Miami couldn’t miss triples to start the game, hitting all of its first five. Not all of that was bad defense from Toronto, but it did contribute to an early hole. The first three Miami missed, the Heat grabbed their own rebound and tossed it right back in. That was rough. Set the tone for the rest of the game.
- The mental mistakes were painful. Fouling 3-point shooters. Offensive fouls, both in the form of charges and illegal screens. They couldn’t get stops to string together runs, and when they did get stops they gave up timely offensive rebounds. Not closing out to hot shooters, or if they did, using flybys and then not getting back into the play to contest one-dribble threes. Head-scratching choices.
- Kyle Lowry just doesn’t lose to the Raptors. 2-0 now, both in weird games.