Quick Reaction: Raptors 128, Hornets 108

A much-needed easy win.

Box Score
O. Anunoby34 MIN, 23 PTS, 7 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 9-13 FG, 5-6 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 16 +/-

Hit basically every shot, haha, such incredible efficiency. His cutting, as has been the case recently, was huge for Toronto. Hit his triples, played great defense — Bouknight started hitting triples, so O.G. guarded him and simply turned off the tap. Did O.G. things. Maybe most importantly? His pull-up jumper was falling, too. Rolled his ankle late, which, lame. Fantastic game.

P. Siakam38 MIN, 36 PTS, 7 REB, 7 AST, 2 STL, 16-24 FG, 2-7 3FG, 2-2 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 16 +/-

Some birthday domination! Aggressive on offense early, great control of the game. Used his size and quick-twitch, side-to-side athleticism well, which usually always means he scores well. He was magnetic in transition. When he was driving, made some good dump-off passes to Poeltl for easy points. Hit some 3s, then he started settling for that shot. (Which didn’t really matter, the Raps had the game sewn up early.) Had a monster dunk from a Poeltl lob.

J. Poeltl30 MIN, 16 PTS, 9 REB, 3 AST, 1 STL, 8-12 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 5 BLK, 1 TO, 16 +/-

Had all his teammates looking for him around the rim for easy ones. At the same time, he was looking for others when he touched the ball not in a scoring context. (Horns flex baby!) That’s a good combo. He survived well on switches, but his teammates couldn’t clean the glass. He was a little slow on defense in the first quarter, but he cleaned that up really well later. Finished with a huge number of blocks as he settled into his spots.

S. Barnes36 MIN, 12 PTS, 3 REB, 3 AST, 2 STL, 6-12 FG, 0-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 3 TO, 15 +/-

A quieter night for him with Siakam and VanVleet so dominant. He hurt his hip in the first quarter, and settled for a few jumpers upon his return, including a step-back triple. That’s not how he’s been so incredible recently, but he started attacking the rim in transition later. Not his best night, but neither did the Raptors need his best night. I really appreciate his deferring to the hot hands in terms of initiation. He ran in transition and finished at the rim, and that’s what the Raptors needed on this one. Some impressive defensive stands in the fourth, too, when some Charlotte triples narrowed the gap.

F. VanVleet38 MIN, 20 PTS, 5 REB, 20 AST, 3 STL, 7-17 FG, 1-8 3FG, 5-5 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, 18 +/-

Franchise record in assists. Masterful early. Dining up everyone, hit his pullup triples, and did well sticking with Charlotte’s guards when they tried him off the dribble. The shot-making at the rim (the left!) and in the short mid-range was exquisite, hitting fades off the glass, up-and-unders, and other fancy finishes. Hit his double-double two minutes into the third quarter. Created well with devastating dribble moves, including splitting the pick-and-roll to create some 5-on-3s for Toronto. He did get a little jumper-happy in the third (they were mostly good looks), which brought down his percentages, but didn’t put the game in any danger.

C. Boucher16 MIN, 7 PTS, 5 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 3-9 FG, 0-3 3FG, 1-1 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 2 +/-

Powerful finishing at the rim, great rebounding, and good energy. He’s so context-dependent, and with Toronto’s leaders balling out, Boucher settled comfortably into a role he knows well. Great game.

C. Koloko16 MIN, 6 PTS, 3 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 3-6 FG, 0-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, 2 +/-

Immediate impact, finishing on offense, blocking a shot on defense, and then forcing a turnover in transition sticking with a ballhandler. Incredible. Was less impactful during his second stint, but the game was already over.

J. Dowtin Jr.10 MIN, 0 PTS, 0 REB, 4 AST, 0 STL, 0-0 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -3 +/-

Great defense immediately upon checking in. Really nice connective play, adding a bunch of assists too. (Raptors set a season high for team assists).

P. Achiuwa12 MIN, 8 PTS, 3 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 4-7 FG, 0-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 6 +/-

Got some minutes alongside Poeltl, which I loved, and the defense was predictably fantastic. A blur sprinting in transition. Some nice finishing off a high-low pass from Poeltl. Really excellent play from him — at the forward spot! Whowouldayathunk?

M. Flynn04 MIN, 0 PTS, 0 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 0-3 FG, 0-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 6 +/-

Only played late once the game was already in the books.

R. Harper Jr.02 MIN, 0 PTS, 1 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 0-0 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 2 +/-

Only played late once the game was already in the books.

J. Wieskamp02 MIN, 0 PTS, 1 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 0-0 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 2 +/-

Only played late once the game was already in the books.

D. Banton02 MIN, 0 PTS, 1 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 0-1 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 2 +/-

Only played late once the game was already in the books.

Nick Nurse

Nurse, unprompted, questioned his future in Toronto before the game against Philadelphia. (The question came in a pre-game scrum from ESPN.) Asked about it for the first time by Toronto media before the Charlotte game (props to Lindsay Dunn for the question), he gave a pissy answer about being asked the question three games in a row (which simply isn’t true, this is the first time he’s been asked about it, and only because he brought it up). Not sure if this is damage control or not, but strange and combative behavior. Sure, Toronto won. They are a good team and beat a bad team. But Nurse’s choice to clutter the playoff run with his personal future gets him the grade here.

Things We Saw

  1. Svi hit more triples than he did in a single game as a Raptor. Because, of course. A career high in points! haha.
  2. One of my personal favourite Fred games. No one on Charlotte could take a thing away from him, and he knew it, getting anywhere he wanted, taking any shot he wanted, and hitting the majority inside the arc. Talk about control of the game. He had a few possessions in the third I’m sure he would take back — with a little too much ball domination, but in the scheme of the game, that’s nothing. Defensively, as soon as drivers turned their backs to the perimeter, he sunk his meathook hands into the ball, gathering a boatload of steals to fuel Toronto’s deadly transition attack. Overall, unbelievable stuff.
  3. Charlotte, a bad 3-point shooting team, couldn’t miss from 3. That’s life! Toronto weathered it really well. The defense was actually not a huge problem, and Charlotte just hit shots. The Raptors protected the rim well enough, and created enough good looks on the other end, that it didn’t matter.
  4. Toronto’s assist record coming into the night was 19, held by Kyle Lowry. VanVleet was stuck on 18 for a while, with Koloko and Achiuwa missing some shots around the rim that would have given him a share of the record. It was Siakam who finally made the key shot in transition to tie VanVleet with Lowry. Love that ‘good teammate’ little stuff, which was a hallmark of Lowry, too. Siakam scored on assist number 20, too.

5 thoughts on “Quick Reaction: Raptors 128, Hornets 108”

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