“Tale of two lineups,” inconsistency lead to another Raptors loss

Bench was outscored 61-12. Disappointing 1-4 road trip for the Raptors.

The Raptors did something last night that they haven’t done since November 30th 2014.

For the first time in eight tries, the Lakers won a home game against Toronto. Anthony Davis picked up his first win against the Raptors since joining L.A. It was another winnable game (without LeBron James) flushed down the toilet, despite 21 forced turnovers and offensive explosions from Scottie Barnes and O.G. Anunoby.

First Half Inconsistency

The first half was maddening. Toronto began the game with beautiful offence, assisting on nine of their first 10 baskets. The threes were falling. However the Raps can’t seem to play effectively on both ends of the court at the same time very often this season. With the offence firing on all cylinders, the defence let L.A. turn a 15 point deficit to four by the end of the quarter.

The second quarter was also closed out poorly. L.A. went on a 13-4 run in the final three minutes to take an eight point halftime lead. The straight line drives Laker players had to the rim was embarrassing at times.

Anunoby Takeover in 3rd

Toronto cleaned up all the first half issues with a 28-15 third quarter, including a 19-2 run. O.G. in particular was incredible, with 14 points and three steals during that stretch. He was the primary defender denying Anthony Davis, who only ended up with seven shot attempts (although that let other players go off). Anunoby made his first 11 shots and finished with 31 points. He’s scored more twice this season but in my opinion this was his premiere two-way moment all year.

Scottie trying to lead transitional lineups

Nick Nurse said after the game that this loss was a tale of two lineups. It’s hard to envision the bench playing any worse. Gary Trent Jr. was a game worst minus-27. He shot 0-9 and 2-20 total in the two L.A games. Three different Lakers (Dennis Schroder, Rui Hachimura and Austin Reaves) outscored the Raptor bench by themselves. It led to another wild swing, as the Lakers opened the fourth on a 15-6 run to go back up four after trailing by five to begin the quarter. Nurse took a timeout and the reserves never saw court time again afterwards.

In the meantime, Scottie Barnes did his best to keep things afloat. He matched O.G’s 14 point third with 14 in the fourth. Barnes set a new career high with 32 points.

D-Loading: The Encore

All the positives from Scottie and O.G. didn’t matter at the end.

Remember the crushing loss in January to Minnesota? The Raptors were outscored 18-4 in the final eight minutes of that game (16 by D’Angelo Russell).

Russell had missed the previous six games with an ankle injury. New team, same result nearly two months later.

Russell ended a back and forth contest with another 16 point fourth, going 5-5 from the field and 4-4 from three. The Minnesota game saw Russell torch a Raptors zone. This time, he just pulled up early in the shot clock repeatedly.

Pascal Siakam?

Siakam had a rough seven game road trip a month ago, but this trip was worse. After stint in February were Pascal scored 25-plus points in seven straight games, he’s only touched 20 once in his last five.

Siakam Feb 8-26: 29.4 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 5.4 apg, 53.6% FG (54.8 from three)

Siakam Mar 2-10: 15.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 5.0 apg, 42.3% FG.

Up Next: The Raptors now play seven of their next eight games at home. Rematch vs Denver coming up after their extremely controversial meeting on Monday.

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