Raptors turn up defence after slow start, defeat Rockets

Toronto improves to 2-1 without Pascal Siakam, 5-1 at home.

The last two home games have been pretty similar for the Raptors.

Following the Sunday script against Chicago, Toronto came out sluggish on the defensive end vs Houston. The Rockets put up 37 first quarter points thanks to slow rotations and bad transition defence. O.G. Anunoby’s 20 point first half and Fred VanVleet’s scoring run near halftime kept the Raptors afloat regardless and Toronto actually entered the break with a three point lead.

The Steal Fiends

Sometimes there really is a switch that gets flipped on. Fred and O.G. took turns being absolute pests in the third quarter, sparking a Raptors surge that grew the lead to as high as 12.

(note: this was all done in a five minute span)

After shooting 70 percent in the first quarter, the Rockets dipped into the 30’s for the next two.

Anunoby and VanVleet rank one-two league wide in steals per game. O.G. added three more, while Fred had four. Mix in the offensive numbers as well. Fred had a season-high 32 points and has made 18 treys in three games since shooting 0-11 vs the 76ers and taking a few days off. O.G. tied his season-high of 27 points and added 10 rebounds for his first double-double in 12 games.

Everyone has raved about Anunoby’s defense. Pascal Siakam has openly endorsed O.G’s chances to win defensive player of the year. Nick Nurse has talked about how Anunoby is quicker to the ball in terms of getting deflections and playing passing lanes.

Fred added to the pile of early season quotes after the game.

“He’s finally taking it personal. If he ever gets any meaner, he’s going to be really scary. He’s such a nice guy, if he ever just turns into a bad guy it will be scary out there.”

Fred VanVleet on Anunoby

Otto Porter Jr – The Closer

Referencing the first Bulls game again. Otto and Thaddeus Young took Gary Trent Jr and Christian Koloko’s fourth quarter minutes, playing alongside Fred, O.G. and Scottie Barnes.

So far Porter has brought a little bit of everything in his first five games. He began his Raptors career with multiple steals in three straight games. He had a three assist game on Sunday. Then Otto needed to provide some timely shooting yesterday in a one point game mid fourth.

Porter played a season-high 23 minutes, which seems more like the norm as he gets increasingly comfortable with his new teammates.

“He’s great, he’s just one of those guys that just balances out what we do, balances out our rotation and some of the lineups with the spacing and being able to make plays. He’s got great hands and experience. Championship caliber player and he can fit with any rotation especially with the top guys. I think he fits very well with what we do.”

Fred VanVleet on Otto Porter

Sidenotes: Precious Achiuwa

Nurse called out Achiuwa’s play before the game.

This is something we saw with Chris Boucher repeatedly last season. This was probably not the game to change Nurse’s line of thinking, as Boucher and Achiuwa were minus-10 and minus-11 respectively, leading to Nurse using Thad and Otto instead down the stretch.

Unfortunately Achiuwa also sprained his ankle in the fourth quarter and had to be helped off the court. He had an MRI done after the game and had his foot wrapped, but it wasn’t in a walking boot. There should be an update before the Raptors begin a three game road trip, starting in Oklahoma City on Friday.

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