Quick Reaction: Raptors 93, Cavaliers 118

Hard without a point guard. Just a bad, bad game.

Box Score
O. Anunoby34 MIN, 7 PTS, 1 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 3-7 FG, 1-2 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -30 +/-

Gave little on offense. Well, he did have a buzzer-beating triple. And one great move along the baseline with calm, confident footwork to outwait his defenders for a hook. Even if his offense hasn’t picked up since returning, he remains such a defensive menace. Really on-balance when he’s helping in the lanes, and he’s got arms and hands equal to any defender in the league. Mitchell burned him once or twice when he gambled.

P. Siakam33 MIN, 25 PTS, 8 REB, 5 AST, 0 STL, 10-24 FG, 4-7 3FG, 1-1 FT, 0 BLK, 4 TO, -18 +/-

Some unforced dribbling errors, some misses on his patented midrangers, but it can all look a whole lot better when he hits his triples. Deus ex machina tonight. At least, he was in the first and third quarters, and then when the triples fell off, the turnovers looked a lot worse. The margin for error without VanVleet is a lot thinner, and as the only ballhandler in some units, he has to both create advantages and make sure there’s no risk. Really tough ask, but Toronto’s offense is walking the edge of a knife with personnel out.

J. Poeltl27 MIN, 13 PTS, 9 REB, 3 AST, 2 STL, 5-6 FG, 0-0 3FG, 3-3 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, -16 +/-

Hard to find fault with him in any real area. With him on the court, Toronto’s defense really held up. He ate glass. He finished on the other end. Survived on switches against Cleveland’s speedster guards, which is nice, but not really what the Raptors needed. Remains finding Siakam on back cuts. He’s just a whole lot of cherries on top since arriving in town.

S. Barnes31 MIN, 12 PTS, 3 REB, 5 AST, 0 STL, 5-13 FG, 0-1 3FG, 2-3 FT, 2 BLK, 2 TO, -15 +/-

Opened himself up to blocks here and there on the offensive end, which is unusual for him. He had some picturesque passes to Boucher, who cut like a maniac. His pick and rolls with Poeltl are really shaping up, and he’s getting better at using all that space. He missed a lot right at the rim, which happens against this Cavs’ frontline. Hard to blame him, as he wasn’t the only one who suffered.

G. Trent Jr.27 MIN, 7 PTS, 6 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 2-13 FG, 1-5 3FG, 2-2 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -11 +/-

In the first half, I liked his process working his way into little floaters and creating easier looks, but they weren’t falling. He even chased his own misses. Started forcing it in the third quarter, which led to Cleveland fast breaks. Poor combo. His defense was not good.

P. Achiuwa16 MIN, 7 PTS, 3 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 3-6 FG, 1-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, -10 +/-

On the defensive end he got bullied at the rim by Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley, which isn’t totally his fault, but you’d like to see him exercise his strength more to keep size out of the lane. He can’t meet those guys in midair unless he’s coming from behind, so he has to do his work earlier. As with Siakam, when he hits his triples, a few of other sins are more or less forgivable.

C. Boucher18 MIN, 6 PTS, 6 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 2-6 FG, 0-2 3FG, 2-2 FT, 1 BLK, 2 TO, -12 +/-

Outhustled four Cavs on one possession — without any help from teammates. Hot on the glass, then kept it alive, then dove on the ground before anyone else, then won the tip. Dowtin splashed the triple on the possession, too. Great end-of-quarter closeout to force a shot clock violation. Putback. He did his job, at least.

J. Dowtin Jr.18 MIN, 7 PTS, 1 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 3-7 FG, 1-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, -10 +/-

The offense is really, really popping right now. Hit some tough jumpers, some good finishes too. Nifty passing for layups.

J. Wieskamp07 MIN, 0 PTS, 2 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 0-3 FG, 0-3 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -5 +/-

Set a nice back screen in a Spain set for Dowtin, who missed the floater. Very good defense, too, with an under-control closeout. Good contest at the rim, too. Airballed his triples, so none of the rest of it really matters — he’s in there for one reason and one reason only.

T. Young01 MIN, 0 PTS, 0 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 0-0 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -2 +/-

Garbage time.

M. Flynn09 MIN, 7 PTS, 1 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 2-3 FG, 1-1 3FG, 2-4 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 0 +/-

Tried to do too much, and why wouldn’t he? Lost his rotation spot to Dowtin, who played awesome offensively.

R. Harper Jr.05 MIN, 2 PTS, 0 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 1-2 FG, 0-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 1 +/-

Garbage time.

C. Koloko05 MIN, 0 PTS, 1 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 0-1 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 1 +/-

Garbage time.

J. Hernangomez05 MIN, 0 PTS, 1 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 0-1 FG, 0-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 1 +/-

Garbage time.

D. Banton04 MIN, 0 PTS, 1 REB, 0 AST, 1 STL, 0-1 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 1 +/-

Garbage time.

Nick Nurse

Left the starters in too late. Didn’t know where else he was supposed to turn. Went to Weezy, after all!?

Things We Saw

  1. Mitchell and Garland went berserk and just drilled triple after triple on really well-contested looks. That’s life, and without VanVleet in the lineup, Toronto just can’t match that offense. The defensive process was totally fine when Poeltl was out there. But this Raptors team without a point guard kind of caps out at 105 points. If the other team is gonna score more than that, even against mostly good defense? Shake their hand and move on.
  2. Tough up and down the roster. The main guys weren’t efficient enough. They didn’t finish well around the rim, and they couldn’t create well for themselves. As a result, not enough rotation from the defense, which led to the supporting guys not really having any chances either. Just no advantages being created, up and down the thing.
  3. That was maybe the first time since the Raptors acquired Poeltl that a lack of 3-point shooting looked just so impactful. Toronto just doesn’t have spacing, and that filters all the way down through the rest of what’s happening. Some shooting would be nice! Especially from the shooters, lol.
  4. Anunoby’s wrist is clearly still bothering him. Can’t blame a guy for at least gutting it out. The Raptors were more doomed by a lack of anybody else being able to simulate his shooting, such as it is.

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