Quick Reaction: Heat 104, Raptors 112

Raptors win a tight one! Always seems to be against Miami.

Box Score
O. Anunoby43 MIN, 32 PTS, 10 REB, 3 AST, 0 STL, 13-18 FG, 1-3 3FG, 5-6 FT, 1 BLK, 3 TO, 8 +/-

Anunoby came out very aggressive this game, as he was relentlessly attacking the paint. His only three-pointer of the game came in the third quarter, but he was still knocking down jumpers in the mid-range. A few of those came off the stepback and none of them were more impressive than his bucket on Duncan Robinson in the fourth quarter. His defence was there like always, even though he only had one block to show for it. The most impressive part of his game was the playmaking. Anunoby only had three assists but easily could have had more as O.G. was finding the open man all night long. It was also great to see him bring the ball up during some possessions.

S. Barnes41 MIN, 19 PTS, 6 REB, 6 AST, 1 STL, 9-14 FG, 1-2 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 4 TO, 4 +/-

The reigning rookie of the year served as the primary ball handler for Toronto and did a tremendous job. He did have four turnovers, which is a bit concerning but the good news is he had zero turnovers in the second half. Scottie must have been watching DeRozan highlights before the game as his mid-range jumper was on point all night. And the most impressive one came late in the first quarter after recovering a loose ball and making a Nowitzki-like step-back on one leg. Good rebound game for Barnes after struggling in the last two contests.

T. Young28 MIN, 12 PTS, 8 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 6-9 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, 2 +/-

The great Bill Belichick once said, “Do your job.” Thaddeus Young seems like the poster boy for that motto as he always plays hard and within his limits. Like Anunoby, Young also had a great day playmaking for others but only had two assists to show for it. His biggest play of the game came in the fourth quarter when he made a heads-up play, putting back an airballed shot from Scottie.

D. Banton21 MIN, 5 PTS, 1 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 2-10 FG, 1-6 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -14 +/-

A tough game for Banton after a career night in Detroit. If you were expecting another 27-point performance from Rexdale’s finest then that’s a bit harsh. He’s finally seeing consistent minutes for the first time since joining Toronto and with him being fairly inexperienced, nights like this are bound to happen. He had a bunch of open three-pointers that weren’t falling tonight but it happens. On top of it all, Banton was ruled out of the game late in the third quarter after suffering a left ankle sprain. A night to forget for Dalano for sure.

F. VanVleet39 MIN, 23 PTS, 1 REB, 8 AST, 0 STL, 7-21 FG, 3-10 3FG, 6-7 FT, 0 BLK, 3 TO, 10 +/-

Steady Freddy was back after a two-game hiatus, and boy did the Raptors need him. Obviously, he had a rough game efficiency-wise, but VanVleet completely took over the third quarter to put the Raptors in the driver’s seat to win this game. It’s great having players like Fred on the team as even if he has a rough night shooting, you know he can still leave an impact on the game. The VanVleet, Koloko connection is real, as he hooked up with the Rookie for two of his three alley-oops of the game. Welcome back Freddy.

C. Boucher25 MIN, 15 PTS, 10 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 4-7 FG, 1-3 3FG, 6-9 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 7 +/-

Boucher just misses out on the A+ because of a rough night from the free throw line. But everything else was spectacular. The only bench member to give Toronto a double-digit performance in the points department. The energy was there from his first shift to his last. And a very impressive last shift indeed, as he helped the Raptors close out the game, knocking down their last two field goals and also securing the final two rebounds of the game to shut the door on any possibility that Miami had of winning this game.

C. Koloko13 MIN, 4 PTS, 1 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 2-2 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, 4 +/-

It seems like almost every game is the same for the Rookie. He impacts the game down-low and can give you buckets at the rim and the box score never showcases his true impact. He’s become VanVleet’s favourite lob target and that’s only going to get better with more games played together.

J. Hernangomez23 MIN, 0 PTS, 4 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 0-3 FG, 0-2 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 17 +/-

The second member of the “Do your job squad.” There’s a reason why Hernangomez was out there for 23 minutes with no points. Defence. Another deceiving performance box score wise but Juancho brought the energy all night on defence. The offence will get there, just give it some time.

K. Birch07 MIN, 2 PTS, 1 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 1-2 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 2 +/-

And last but not least, the third and final member of the “Do your job squad.” There’s not much to say about his performance other than that. We know what Birch is out there for, the dirty work. He can play solid defence for you, set good picks and rebound.

Nick Nurse

This was by far the easiest grade to give out. When you win a game with your best player (Pascal Siakam) and three other key players (Otto Porter Jr, Gary Trent Jr and Precious Achiuwa) out you get an A+. I know Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro were out for Miami but this was still a great win. The game plan was clear, don’t let Jimmy Butler beat you and tonight they executed tremendously.

Things We Saw

  1. A dominant performance by the Raptors on the glass tonight as they out-rebounded Miami 42-23. If the effort is there, Toronto is a very hard team to beat even with injuries.
  2. You don’t have to be shooting lights out from the three-point line to win games. The raptors played some old-school ball tonight, only making seven out of 26 threes but it worked.

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