Raptors lose Siakam, fall short in comeback attempt vs Mavs

Toronto cut a 19 point deficit to one but drop to 5-4.

This game featured an interesting clash of styles.

In one corner – the Raptors, who had been pushing the ball at a breakneck pace over the last couple of games with Scottie Barnes at the point. Toronto was coming off a season-high 106 shot attempts vs the Spurs.

Meanwhile Dallas operates at the slowest pace in the league this season (98.3 possessions a game), relying on their superstar Luka Doncic to masterfully dissect whatever defence is thrown at him.

Some observations:

Siakam’s Injury

With a minute left in the third quarter and the Raptors down 14, Pascal Siakam suddenly slipped on a wet spot. He was having a solid game to that point (18 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists) but the awkward fall ended his night.

Samson is referring to a game in Detroit where Pascal attacked the rim but was blocked by Andre Drummond and landed hard.

The good news is Siakam was able to get up and walk off the court. The Raptors have a back to back against the Bulls starting on Sunday so we’ll wait on an update.

Luka Magic

Doncic is arguably the frontrunner for your “way too early” MVP rankings. He finished with 35 points on an efficient 15 shots (12-14 from the line), becoming the first player to score 30-plus in eight straight games to begin a season since Wilt Chamberlain in 1962. That’s 60 years ago folks.

First, lets look at the passing. Dallas ranks second last in assists per game and first in isolation possessions. The Raptors gave Doncic numerous looks, from Scottie picking him up at half court to different zones and traps. Still, Luka was able to find shooters when extra attention was given, whether it was his assist, or initiating the action to an open shot.

“I don’t think that we locked in and executed enough stuff correctly on the other guys,” Nick Nurse said after the game. “There was a stretch where Dinwiddie (21 points) really hurt us, we had schemes for that and we didn’t execute them.”

And then there is trying to stop Luka one on one. He had two possessions in a minute wrapping up the third quarter vs O.G. Anunoby and Precious Achiuwa – the Raptors two best defenders.

There isn’t much one can do about this.

The Raptors dug a 19 point hole for other reasons too. Eight turnovers in the third quarter led to Dallas winning the fastbreak battle 17-15. The Raptors came in with 84 fastbreak points over the previous two games. Both Nurse and Adrian Griffin mentioned quick shots in the first half, resulting in the defence not being set.

With Siakam out going into the fourth, this game could have easily ended in a blowout.

Scottie’s 4th quarter resurgence

Barnes was having an off game through the first three quarters, something Nurse talked about afterwards. But with the need for playmaking without Pascal and Fred VanVleet (missed his straight third game), Scottie drove the offence to bring the Raptors within a possession.

The play of the game came with 15 seconds left and the Raptors down three. Anunoby reached in on Doncic about 30 feet from the basket with the shot clock winding down. O.G. had an impressive game otherwise, leading the Raptors with 27 points but ensuing free throws put the game to bed.

Back to Scottie though. It won’t be memorable for him because of the loss, but he got his 10th assist at the buzzer for his first career triple-double (11 pts, 11 reb, 10 ast).

Sidenotes: O.G steals counter

Anunoby picked up five more steals on Friday, after snatching five in San Antonio and six vs Atlanta. He now leads the NBA with 3.1 a game.

Sidenotes: Otto’s 2nd look

Speaking of steals, Porter has gotten two in each game so far. He played 21 minutes, up from his 11 in his Raptors debut. Otto added a couple of threes for six points.

Just adding more length to the equation.

Up next: Bulls in Toronto on Sunday, flip the script in Chicago on Monday.

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