Last night’s game was one of the most dramatic finishes for Toronto in a while. In a game where they were down 19 at halftime and scored a mere 35 points in the first 24 minutes, the result of the game was quite stunning. Toronto was able to manufacture this comeback on the back of an outstanding fourth quarter from young star Scottie Barnes. Barnes was a large part of the comeback efforts but this was a group effort for sure.
In the early stages of the game Toronto looked and played very lethargic and they really struggled offensively. The presence of rookie sensation Victory Wembenyama in the paint deterred many drives and Toronto was surprisingly bad in transition early on. Pascal Siakam in particular was not his best in the first half, along with most of the Toronto Raptors besides Dennis Schroeder. Schroeder was finding his way to the rim most of the game and it was his drives and floaters that kept giving Toronto some hope for a comeback. Wembenyama proved to be a troublesome matchup for OG Anunoby early on as he scored 9 first quarter points and even with suffocating defense he was still scoring.
The second quarter was when the lead really got out of hand and San Antonio began to make this game seem out of reach for Toronto. After scoring a mere 13 points in the quarter and allowing 28 points Toronto found themselves in trouble. Doug Mcdermott was lighting them up with numerous threes, Keldon Johnson was perfect from the field and he was getting to the rim with little to no resistance. Zach Collins also had an impact on this lead as he hit some tough looks but also had some uncovered ones as well. This quarter was where Toronto was uncharacteristically lackluster on the defensive end, multiple times Spurs players were left unchecked, players were failing to get back in transition, the effort was just not there.
The third quarter is where Toronto’s offense began to pick up. With OG Anunoby lighting San Antonio up from outside during the first half with 4 threes, San Antonio opted to move Wembenyama to the perimeter on defense so he could nullify him. This proved to be a mistake because immediately in the 3rd quarter the Raptors found Jakob Poetl on multiple laydown passes which led to wide open layups which just weren’t there in the first half. Toronto came out of the half with a new energy on offense and it really showed as they scored 36 points in the quarter, which was more than they scored the entire first half. Dennis Schroeder was operating beautifully in the pick n roll and he was dicing San Antonio up with more scoop layups and pull up mid range shots. Scottie Barnes also woke up in this quarter as he scored 8 points of his own to help the comeback efforts. San Antonio didnt take this lying down though as they scored 32 points of their own to keep their lead intact. It felt as if Malachi Branham couldn’t miss a mid range shot, Zach Collins kept going at Jakob Poeltl and succeeding, and every time it felt like Toronto was gaining some real ground the Spurs would hit a three to dampen their hopes.
The 4th quarter was where we saw Scottie Barnes put on a masterclass and really stamp himself as a star in this league. Gary Trent Jr was also good in this quarter as he hit timely shots in order to help Toronto creep up on this lead. Barnes went on to score 17 points in the 4th quarter alone and this was a true perfect ending to the best performance of Scottie’s young career. He backed down Keldon Johnson and then dunked over him, he was getting to his mid range shot comfortably, he blew by Wembenyama on a catch and bursted to the rim for a dunk, and most importantly of all were the threes. Scottie hit 3 threes in this quarter and the most important one of all was a contested stepback three over Keldon Johnson which tied this game and gave the raptors hope that they could really pull the comeback off. After this play however the refs decided to call a foul on Siakam which was very questionable but nonetheless awarded San Antonio with two free throws which they hit. Down by 2 points, Dennis brings the ball up to run a handoff with Scottie Barnes which the Spurs send a double to which prompts Dennis to pop out to the three point line and fire up a triple which he missed, and in a miracle, Wembenyama could not corral the rebound after a teammate bumped into him and OG Anunoby slithered in, took the ball and put up the layup to tie the game and send it to overtime.
In Overtime you could tell the Spurs were spent, they scored a mere 6 points and for Toronto, they got contributions from everyone in order to close this game out in overtime and secure the shocking win. This game had it all, dramatic comeback, clutch shots, OG Anunoby sets a career high in threes made in a game, Scottie Barnes with the performance of his life, this was a very gutsy win by Toronto and one that they should be very proud of for a while.