Quick Reaction: Raptors 127, Mavericks 116

The Raptors are streaking, make it two wins in a row!

Box Score
O. Anunoby36 MIN, 26 PTS, 5 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 9-17 FG, 3-8 3FG, 5-6 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, 9 +/-

– Anunoby got the first reps at guarding Luka Dončić in this one and made the most of the matchup. The Slovenian came into the game averaging 31.6 points on 49.3% shooting from the field, and despite finishing with 31 points he looked visibly frustrated having to deal with the Raptors forward all night. Dončić finished 11-26 shooting and a wayward 2-11 from downtown thanks to the efforts of OG. Remarkably, Anunoby was more impressive on the offensive end. He hit back-to-back threes to start the game before becoming a bully down the lane as he relentlessly drove to the hoop against any and all Mavericks defenders.

P. Siakam37 MIN, 31 PTS, 12 REB, 5 AST, 0 STL, 15-25 FG, 0-5 3FG, 1-4 FT, 0 BLK, 3 TO, 7 +/-

Easily Pascal Siakam’s best game this season. He came into the night shooting a career-low from two-point range (46%), but he seemed determined to change that in the early goings of this contest. The forward made his first three layups, and all eight of his makes through the first two quarters came from inside the arch. His scoring came from the usual post-ups and transition opportunities but there was a quickness to his moves, especially in the paint, that looked different than what we’ve seen all season. Every Raptors fan should hope this is an indicator that Pascal and the team have figured out how to work him into the offence.

J. Poeltl21 MIN, 4 PTS, 6 REB, 3 AST, 2 STL, 2-5 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-1 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 0 +/-

With Dereck Lively II ruled out for the Mavericks heading into the game, Jakob Poeltl did just what was required from him in this one. He stayed active inside and secured the glass against an already weak rebounding team in the Mavericks. It was also fun to see him dish a couple of dimes, especially a lob pass he threw to Anunoby for a slam late in the second.

S. Barnes39 MIN, 14 PTS, 14 REB, 7 AST, 4 STL, 4-15 FG, 0-4 3FG, 6-8 FT, 2 BLK, 0 TO, 9 +/-

If tonight was easily Siakam’s strongest game, it was probably Scottie Barnes’ quietest…at least to start. His first points came with three minutes left in the second quarter but honestly, he did so much else it didn’t matter. The forward quarterbacked the defence for the painted area, quickly racking up four steals before halftime and even a monster block on a Kyrie Irving drive. Matt Bonner (good to see the Red Rocket back in town) said pre-game the development of Barnes has been “between the ears,” pointing to his evolution as a decision maker and game evaluator. The third-year star showed it tonight as he constantly disrupted passing lanes, provided help defence, and did just about everything on that end of the floor.

D. Schroder30 MIN, 18 PTS, 2 REB, 5 AST, 2 STL, 7-13 FG, 1-4 3FG, 3-4 FT, 1 BLK, 2 TO, 1 +/-

This game showed Schröder’s versatility. Not a playmaking masterpiece like most of his performances so far have been, instead, he demonstrated his ability to play off the ball. The German made multiple shots off the catch, both from inside and outside the arch. Schröder continues to understand what this team needs and when they need it and keeps provides exactly that.

G. Trent Jr.26 MIN, 16 PTS, 2 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 6-11 FG, 4-8 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 9 +/-

Gary Trent Jr. looked much more comfortable and engaged on both ends tonight. He helped the Raptors mount a mini-comeback in the second quarter as the guard knocked down two triples early in the frame and did his thing on the other end as well. After drilling a shot from the corner, Trent Jr. clamped up Tim Hardaway Jr. on the other end long enough for Barnes to come over and poke the ball away for a Mavericks turnover. Hopefully, this performance is a sign of what’s to come for the shooting guard, who had been struggling to this point.

G. Dick06 MIN, 0 PTS, 0 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 0-1 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, 0 +/-

This might’ve been the most “rookie,” Gradey Dick has looked this season so far. He was hunted on defence a couple of times and also threw a reckless pass after leaving his feet without a clear target in mind that got picked off and resulted in Schröder picking up his third foul (albeit on a questionable call) during the ensuing transition opportunity. That possession was pretty much the end of Dick’s night and if there’s any positive, it’s that the guard has looked so poised to this point, that this game is likely an outlier rather than the norm.

M. Flynn15 MIN, 8 PTS, 4 REB, 4 AST, 0 STL, 2-5 FG, 2-4 3FG, 2-2 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 7 +/-

Another strong outing by the backup guard, probably his best performance of the season considering it’s the most points he’s scored this year. His efficiency may look less than ideal but like he did against San Antonio, Malachi Flynn found ways to be a positive player. Any game he can do that is big and doing it for multiple games in a row is massive. It was also nice that Flynn’s strong play led to Schröder getting an extended rest, and I’m sure the 30-year-old appreciated a bit of a break.

O. Porter Jr.15 MIN, 0 PTS, 3 REB, 0 AST, 1 STL, 0-3 FG, 0-2 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 9 +/-

The veteran continues to be a great connector for the Raptors bench. His numbers in the traditional stat categories will almost never pop out, like tonight, but his effort and positive play almost always will. He led the bench unit in plus/minus even without scoring a single basket.

C. Boucher15 MIN, 10 PTS, 2 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 4-4 FG, 1-1 3FG, 1-2 FT, 1 BLK, 1 TO, 4 +/-

A typical Chris Boucher night but with added efficiency from the field (41% from the field entering tonight). He provided his usual spark grabbing hard-fought rebounds, and the three-pointer he knocked down in the first half was his first triple of the season. Hopefully, he doesn’t go eight games until his next make from beyond the arch.

Darko Rajakovic

The way the team involved Siakam in this game, especially once he heated up, was a testament to Rajaković’s ability to read the game. As the Raptors built their lead in the third, the team was pushing the pace and getting Siakam post-touches as quickly as possible, before doubles could get to him, and the results were positive. Seeing Pascal not just operate but thrive in a ball-movement system shows the strides being made by both player and coach. Rajaković also won two consecutive coach’s challenges, it really is a new era.

Things We Saw

  1. There was a play in the first quarter when the Raptors were down 18-11 and the ball moved around so much it would put the Duncan-Parker-Ginóbili Spurs to shame. Every player touched the ball as it zipped from one side of the court to the other, ultimately ending in a dump-off pass from Siakam to Poeltl who got fouled on a layup attempt. That was peak .5 offence/ball movement and if the team can produce more plays like that, Darko’s vision might start turning into reality.
  2. Ben Taylor seemed to be out for a bit of revenge against the Fred VanVleet-less Raptors. Or at least the team thought he was as they were astounded by a myriad of calls throughout the second and third quarters. Things culminated in the final seconds of the third when Trent Jr. was called for a flop by Taylor while guarding Dante Exum. Was that really a flop, especially by NBA standards?
  3. Toronto finished the game +32 on points in the paint, essentially erasing whatever advantage Dallas gained with their strong outside shooting. It was pure dominance inside, and great to see the Raptors take advantage of the smaller Mavericks frontcourt.