Fred and Jakob connection key part of Raptors win

The end left much to be desired again, but mostly focusing on positives.

Click here for player grades from this game.

To nobody’s surprise, a Dwane Casey game turned from “should be okay” to “this is uncomfortable” but Toronto came on on top vs Detroit at home for the first time since October 2019. As a result, the Raptors flip back on top of the Bulls via percentage points for the final play-in spot that the fanbase is still very split on. Nick Nurse missed this game for personal reasons.


Jakob Poeltl got his first start since returning to the Raptors and fifth with the team overall. Adrian Griffin went with a bigger starting lineup (Fred VanVleet-Scottie Barnes-Pascal Siakam-Precious Achiuwa-Poeltl) which raised some concerns about spacing before the game. Jakob doesn’t provide a perimeter threat but his screening was pivotal to getting Fred clean looks, especially in catch and shoot situations. Poeltl on the short roll also can open up opportunities for him to score or find others.

Fred finished with 35 points (12-26 FG, 6-13 3PT). It’s the ninth time he’s gone over the 30 point mark this season, setting a career-high. Jakob’s stat line (6 pts, 5 reb, 3 blk) doesn’t jump out at you but it’s the little things that he can provide that will help stabilize the Raptors on both ends. Defensively, being able to switch on a guard (still not ideal) and stay in front is also a plus.

Let’s just say VanVleet is happy to have Jak back.

One Hilarious play

Quick Pascal note here, he had a slow first half but rebounded with 22 of his 28 points after the break. Much has been made of VanVleet and Siakam not having a good scoring game together, so this was hopefully the start of breaking that trend.

The play what I want to show was a beautiful accident. No, Siakam didn’t get an assist for losing the ball behind him to Chris Boucher in stride. He tried to play it off with the goggles celebration though.

Adrian Griffin

His game management may have prevented a repeat fourth quarter disaster. Although the Pistons ended up losing this game by just one, he called a couple of timeouts during earlier Detroit runs where the defence was becoming lackadaisical. The final couple of minutes saw too many straight line drives to the rim by Detroit, combined with easily faking perimeter defenders out of position for open threes. The Raptors have to be better at closing out games, period. Thankfully Precious Achiuwa split two free throws in the final seconds, making Jaden Ivey’s last second three harmless.

The team was hyped to get the win for Griffin, and he gave credit to the two longest tenured Raptors afterwards.

Up Next: Tuesday’s game against a feisty Orlando squad is the final contest before the All-Star break. Remember the Magic swept a two game set in December. The Raptors are 2-1 on the current five game homestand.

6 thoughts on “Fred and Jakob connection key part of Raptors win”

Leave a Comment