The Toronto Raptors suffered a disappointing 99-91 loss at the hands of the visiting Portland Trail Blazers. No game in the NBA is a gimme or a surefire win, but when you are facing a team that is in the middle of a rebuild, you often expect to win and Toronto just could not pull this one out.
Offensively, Toronto struggled immensely to say the least. Toronto shot 40.4 percent from the floor and 13.8 percent from the three point line. This mark from the three point line is their worst this season obviously and would have been their worst last season as well. To put it simply, Toronto’s offense just wasn’t good. The bench gave them a combined 17 points, their shooters were not able to knock down shots and some starters struggled in the efficiency area as well.
When Toronto signed new head coach Darko Rajakovic in the off-season, he boasted about his new offense which would ensure a faster pace and better looks for the team. This is not a bad thing to implement, but when the roster is subpar, it doesn’t matter what system you run, there are going to be nights like this. Toronto was in position to win this game but down the stretch they just couldn’t generate points. The half court offense was bad as well because once again, the lack of shooting makes it difficult to get things going in a pinch.
On Portlands end they got great games from Jerami Grant and Malcolm Brogdon who scored 21 and 22 points respectively, along with a staggering 10 points 23 rebound game from DeAndre Ayton. But it’s not like they were some offensive juggernaut either, they were just able to generate looks down the stretch of a close ball game and often, that is the difference between wins and losses.
The silver lining in this game is that Scottie Barnes continues to impress so far this season. Barnes recorded 20 points 12 rebounds, 2 steals, and a block and he just looked so under control and poised on offense. He was turning the corner on the way to the rim, he was ripping guys which led to easy transition looks, he was getting to the mid range shot out of the pick and roll, Scottie just looked to be in complete control during this game and that bodes well for Toronto.
Pascal Siakam also had a sort of bounce back game after only taking 8 shots in the previous game, Rajakovic made it a point to get the All-NBA forward more looks which led to a better game from Siakam. He wasn’t very efficient last night, missed all of his threes, but it is a nice sign to see the best player on the team be involved and be a priority in the team’s offense.
If Toronto has ambitions of succeeding with this roster which it seems they do, then you simply cannot lose games like this to teams like this, in a tough eastern conference, it’ll be games like this that can make or break you getting into the playoffs.
Toronto faces off against the Milwaukee Bucks in their next game which is at home and the offense is going to have to look a lot better if they plan to hang around in that one.