|S. Barnes38 MIN, 18 PTS, 10 REB, 7 AST, 0 STL, 7-12 FG, 0-1 3FG, 4-4 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 26 +/-|
Stays dynamic when he touches the ball inside the arc. Great lookaway dime to Achiuwa on his first. The chaos cousins remain awesome. Helps in so many ways – the post, the offensive glass. Great cutting, too, to keep movement and action in Toronto’s offense. HIs defense had some holes, whether giving up blowbys on the perimeter or lobs guarding the screener in the pick and roll. But that was small fries — overall, he was fantastic.
|P. Siakam39 MIN, 24 PTS, 3 REB, 4 AST, 0 STL, 9-17 FG, 1-2 3FG, 5-5 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 17 +/-|
Immediate aggression on his first touch, getting deeper than he did practically at all the night before. A beautiful spin. He really shared the load with Barnes and especially Achiuwa, and he forced a shot or two here or there, but mostly fantastic stuff. Still not blowing by guys a lot, and the creation was lower than you’d expect, but this is on the lower end of an average Siakam game. Crazy how far he’s grown.
|P. Achiuwa33 MIN, 27 PTS, 13 REB, 0 AST, 2 STL, 11-16 FG, 1-2 3FG, 4-4 FT, 1 BLK, 2 TO, 27 +/-|
Best player in the game, on either team. He simply injects a level of athleticism that no one else on the team has. He’s only slightly less fluid than Siakam and only slightly less strong than Anunoby. (Okay, maybe as strong). It impacts the game in so many ways. His dives, his finishes, his rebounding: his athleticism lets him do unique stuff. Defensively, he can kind of turn around the whole mess on his own with his mobility and rim protection.
|G. Trent Jr.36 MIN, 19 PTS, 1 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 7-16 FG, 4-10 3FG, 1-1 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 18 +/-|
I wrote the piece coming into this season, but this game was the perfect microcosm of how Gary goes as the team does. When the ball is humming and the context is favourable, he’s a killer. He is such a phenomenal shooter on open, catch-and-shoot looks. But then in the third quarter when Toronto’s offense bogged down, Trent’s own scoring hit the brakes. He did have a lob in transition for a Precious dunk, which was surprising and very fun.
|F. VanVleet41 MIN, 11 PTS, 6 REB, 9 AST, 4 STL, 4-13 FG, 2-8 3FG, 1-1 FT, 1 BLK, 2 TO, 19 +/-|
Big Lowry game — slow play three quarters and dominate the fourth. He didn’t try to do a ton this game, but his (few) points did come at important moments, at the very least. In the middle of the third when the Blazers staged a small comeback, he hit a tough pull-up triple to end the skid. Then another pull-up triples as a 2-for-1 bomb to truly end the third. A big layup midway through the fourth, and a putback on his own shot a few moments later! All came with Toronto’s offense in the bog — otherwise, he relied on his passing, cutting, and screening. He took over in the fourth in a lot of ways.
|C. Boucher17 MIN, 10 PTS, 5 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 4-7 FG, 1-3 3FG, 1-2 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -6 +/-|
Gave just enough on the offensive end. Hit a triple, had a nice hustle play for a layup early in the fourth. Cut for a lob dunk from VanVleet. He certainly made his mistakes, but he gave something off the bench, at least. Defensively, he was better late than early, which is nice.
|T. Young09 MIN, 7 PTS, 1 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 3-4 FG, 0-0 3FG, 1-1 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, -1 +/-|
He doesn’t have the footspeed on defense that the Raptors need of him. Drivers can turn the corner fairly easily when he’s trying to stay in front. His lefty hook in the post remains money, though.
|M. Flynn10 MIN, 0 PTS, 2 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 0-3 FG, 0-2 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 1 +/-|
He was maybe the most trustworthy defensive player off the bench, which was a low bar to clear, but even then he didn’t give anything on offense. Truly, didn’t give anything.
|J. Hernangomez12 MIN, 3 PTS, 2 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 1-2 FG, 1-2 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -14 +/-|
His defense was less solid and positional than the Raptors have come to expect from him. Yes, he hit a three, but the defense has got to be at a high minimum for him to deserve his rotation spot right now. Wasn’t there all the time tonight.
|R. Harper Jr.02 MIN, 2 PTS, 1 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 1-1 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 1 +/-|
|J. Dowtin Jr.02 MIN, 0 PTS, 0 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 0-0 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 1 +/-|
|C. Koloko01 MIN, 2 PTS, 1 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 1-1 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 1 +/-|
Malachi-Juancho-Thad-Boucher is not a foursome that’s gonna win its minutes very often, and that’s not Nurse putting his bench in a position to succeed. Then again, Toronto was up so much that it didn’t matter at all to the result and mostly just let him get the starters some extra rest. Mostly an easy game for Toronto, so not much to judge Nurse for.
Things We Saw
- The Raptors were really looking to feed Achiuwa. He was the screener in pick and rolls with lots of handlers, and they were all looking to get him the rock. Whether short rolling, bounce passes, lobs, even shorting the roll to get a better passing angle to him. They didn’t all work, but it just goes to show how committed this team is to emphasizing Achiuwa’s strengths. He changes the texture of the team, and the team recognizes that.
- I know the Blazers didn’t score super well, but it wasn’t like this was a defensive masterpiece from Toronto. A lot of breakdowns, a lot of miscommunications, and a lot of Portland missing shots anyway. The offense was awesome for Toronto. The defense was not, outside of a few stretches for the starters.
- Eubanks revenge game! Lol. He did block Achiuwa at the rim.
- Wow that was a bad game for the bench. With Achiuwa stating, the Raptors just don’t have any punch coming in off the bench. The lack of offensive ability was stark, but the defensive vacuousness didn’t have to be the case.
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