Fan Duel Toronto Raptors

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Raptors wrap up In-Season Tournament with loss to Nets

Another close game squandered

The final In-Season Tournament game of 2023 for the Raptors will be remembered as yet another lost opportunity for Canada’s team to close it out in crunch time, losing to the Brooklyn Nets 115-103 to put a pin in the inaugural tournament for Toronto.

Brooklyn went on a 15-0 run to end the first half and scored 39 points in the fourth quarter to improve to a 9-8 record, while Toronto followed up being outscored 63-50 in the second half against Cleveland on Sunday with another disappointment result, dropping to an 8-10 record.

Let’s get into it shall we.

Selfishness rears its ugly head once again.

All the talk over the summer was that there would be no more selfishness, well it was not pretty in this one. There have been signs of Darko Rajakovic’s “0.5” offense fading away and the Raptors reverting back to their old ways of having stagnant ball movement and being disjointed on the offensive end, but last night it all culminated.

Scottie Barnes and Pascal Siakam combined for 34 points (17 a piece), on 11/37 (29.8%) from the field. O.G. Anunoby, Gary Trent Jr., Chris Boucher, and Dennis Schroder all finished in double figures as well. It seems like a good thing that multiple guys finished with double digit points, but it was how these guys were getting their points out of rhythm of the offense and not playing together which was a concern, finishing with 39% shooting from the field as a team.

Career high for O’Neale

This game could have looked worse for Toronto if Brooklyn shot the three ball the way they have to start the season. They came into tonight second in the NBA in three pointers made and third in three point percentage (39%). They only shot 34%, but the saving grace for the Nets shooting percentage was Royce O’Neale’s career high six three pointers, going 50% from distance. 

Raptors rotation continues to be tinkered

Darko Rajakovic clearly wanted to change things up with his rotation. The usual first sub of Trent Jr. for Barnes was business as usual, but then it came as a shock when Precious Achiuwa was brought in earlier then he usually is in the first quarter. Long story short it did not go particularly well. Despite being one of the first subs into the game, Achiuwa finished with the least amount of minutes played with nine, went 0/4 from the field, and finished with one point and one turnover. 

Jalen McDaniels also made an appearance playing in only his 13th game of the year, and going over double digit minutes for the fourth time this season.

It was also clear that the Barnes plus four bench players lineups were not working, so Toronto only played 40 seconds of the game with that lineup. That was the only period of time that two starters were not on the court.

The spacing, pace and execution all need to be improved upon, but they won’t have much time to do it as they take on the Phoenix Suns in the second half of a back-to-back tonight.