Raptors beat Cavs for third time this season

118 points against the NBA's top defence.

Well, this was a weird curse that is no more.

“We’re rolling. Two in a row.” Nick Nurse joked after the game.

It seems that Pascal Siakam’s historic 52 point explosion at MSG on Wednesday really did change the vibes. Cleveland came in with the third best record in the league, but they are now 0-3 against Toronto. The Raptors dominated early with fast break buckets, all game with threes and kept Donovan Mitchell in check (4-16 FG, 12 points) thanks to O.G. Anunoby for the second straight meeting. The Cavs also lost at home with Mitchell in the lineup for the first time this season (previously 16-0). Toronto led by as many as 26 and came up with a huge momentum killing basket every time Cleveland was in the rearview mirror. I’m touching on the offensive side of things in this recap.

Road Scottie cloning Home Scottie

Scottie Barnes home/away splits have been one of the more head scratching trends of this season. He averages 17.7 points at home but only 10.9 before this game. The field goal percentage dips from 51 to 39. Effort can be questioned at times but not in this game.

You could tell it was going to be a good game for Barnes on the first possession, where he attacked the paint and drew a foul. Barnes was also a major part of the Raptors 27 fast break points. Scottie was also comfortable going at the bigger Evan Mobley. Barnes finished with 25 points, 10 boards and four assists.

Threes are back?

The Raptors have been riding a rollercoaster when it comes to success behind the arc. Eyebrows were raised after a 24 percent showing in the preseason. However the first handful of games saw a solid rate of threes connecting before Pascal Siakam’s injury. Since then, it’s been pretty ugly. The Raptors have shot under 30 percent from three a whopping 15 times this season already!

Then Toronto decided to throw a curveball to Cleveland yesterday by bludgeoning their top ranked defence in a way least expected. The Cavs paid dearly for helping on drives or paying too much attention to Pascal, who took advantage with a game-high nine assists. The Raptors 19 threes were a season-high, led by six from Anunoby. It’s the fourth time in O.G’s career that he’s made at least six threes in a game.

The Raptors don’t play again until Tuesday, so Nick Nurse had free reign to run an all too familiar eight man rotation. However it included Malachi Flynn instead of Chris Boucher. Flynn helped the perimeter attack with three treys of his own, and has looked like the best shooter on the team this season in albeit a small sample size. Nurse explained afterwards that he decided to go with guards and Juancho to chase around the perimeter instead of using a bigger guy in Boucher. Gary Trent Jr. also returned from his quad injury and provided a quick eight point spark in the first half despite playing limited minutes.

Final Takeaway

Criticism was pretty high around the team just a few days ago. Some of it was warranted as well. Nurse had his take on that postgame.

Short and sweet today. Happy Holidays! (Jack Armstrong voice).

Up Next: Hosting the Clippers after an inspiring 2-1 road trip.