Fan Duel Toronto Raptors

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Spectacular Scottie Barnes is not enough to fend off pesky Hornets

Another tough watch for Raptors fans.

If you are a Toronto sports fan, it was a wildly tough day. Everyone was tracking a flight from Anaheim to Toronto which was thought to have Shohei Ohtani on it with the purpose of signing a record breaking contract, which of course put Twitter (X) into an absolute frenzy……. But it turned out to be a big false alarm, with the plane actually carrying Robert Herjavec from “Shark Tank” and his family.

All of this rolled right into the Raptors game where Toronto fans were desperately hoping for a pick me up against the LaMeloless Charlotte Hornets. So, after being disappointed by the Ohtani news, what did the Raptors do??? They disappointed fans once again losing to the Hornets 119-116.

Three Point Shooting Struggles Continue 

The last time I wrote a recap the Raptors went 6/32 (18.8%) from downtown while allowing the Knicks to make 16 threes and shoot 44.4% from distance, ultimately being outscored by 30 from behind the stripe.

This time around it was just as bad.

Turns out Toronto shot the exact same 6/32 (18.8%) from the three point line as they did against the Knicks a week ago. This time however, it was only Scottie Barnes and Precious Achiuwa who drained shots from beyond the arc (both players hit three a piece). While the rest of the seven players who shot from downtown combined to go 0/22. 

The Hornets on the other hand, shot even better than New York did this time last week, hitting 13/25 (52%!) from distance with every player who chucked up a three making at least one. It’s hard to win many basketball games in 2023 when you allow your opponent to shoot over 50% from the three point line, and you yourself shoot below 20%.

Switching the Starters Should Be Considered

The starting lineup has been a topic of discussion amongst Raptors fans and Darko Rajakovic might have to take a serious look at switching things up, to at the very least to give a fresh look. Toronto has gotten off to slow starts for most of the season but especially in the last three games, which can mostly be attributed to the starters. They allowed New York to put up 34 first quarter points, Miami to put up 37, and Charlotte to score 35 last night while trailing in each and every one. The numbers support a change that might be needed as well. In the last 10 games the starting group of Dennis Schroder, O.G. Anunoby, Scottie Barnes, Pascal Siakam and Jakob Poeltl have a 103.9 points per 100 (147 minutes) with them on the court, and 119.7 points per 100 (333 minutes) with that group off the floor. Furthermore, over the past six games the starting group are a -32 in 94 minutes. To add insult to injury, the lineup of Malachi Flynn, Anunoby, Barnes, Precious Achiuwa and Chris Boucher went on a massive 24-6 run in the fourth quarter to bring things within one, before the three other starters entered back in and could not finish the job.

Superhero Scottie

The biggest bright spot tonight was Scottie Barnes. The third year man finished with 31 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists and two steals to become the youngest player in Raptors franchise history to record multiple triple-doubles in a single season. The 22-year-old is now tied with Damon Stoudamire for the third most in franchise history with three, sitting behind Siakam with five and Kyle Lowry with 16.

Another notable performance for Toronto came from Pascal Siakam. He finished with 25 points on 11/15 (73.3%) shooting, five rebounds, four assists and a steal. Siakam and Barnes combined for nearly half of the Raps points with 56, and nearly half of the total assists by the Dino’s with 14.

It should also be noted that Otto Porter Jr. left the game with a left foot contusion. It’s the same foot which required surgery last year and forced Porter Jr. to miss nearly the full season.

After a wild day full of Shohei rumours, Toronto fell short of another wild 20 point comeback after already pulling it off twice this season. The Raps are in the midst of their second three game losing streak, have lost five of their last six, and have dropped to a 9-13 record.

Toronto’s next opportunity to turn things around will come Monday at Madison Square Garden against the New York Knicks.