Fan Duel Toronto Raptors

Quick Reaction: Raptors 127, Pistons 129

Are we now as horrendous as Detroit? Or is Detroit on the way up to becoming as sub-par as us? Or did the highest-stake game for both teams up the compete level?

Box Score
S. Barnes36 MIN, 22 PTS, 9 REB, 2 AST, 2 STL, 8-20 FG, 1-5 3FG, 5-5 FT, 1 BLK, 1 TO, 1 +/-

Barnes’ second half points were all paint twos. He’s been averaging 6.5 PPG in Q4, and stepped up in lieu of Siakam in the final frame, pouring in 15 points.

P. Siakam40 MIN, 35 PTS, 5 REB, 4 AST, 0 STL, 14-24 FG, 2-2 3FG, 5-8 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, -5 +/-

Siakam’s will to win was on full display, especially in the third quarter, where he played with a “We will not lose to the Pistons” urgency. He scored through post ups, spin cycles, and attacked the rim relentlessly. All except one of his third quarter points were in the paint. He had 20 points in the third, and he was dog tired — both his hands were on his knees at the end of Q3. But he still poured in seven in the final frame.

J. Poeltl35 MIN, 4 PTS, 14 REB, 5 AST, 1 STL, 2-4 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 3 BLK, 0 TO, 8 +/-

He had a solid start, but could have played a much bigger role in the second half. Had a great steal off Bogdanovic as he tried to snake dribble his way to the basket. After that play, Poeltl was rewarded by getting fed in the post, and had a great kickout to Scottie for a wing 3 attempt (missed). I also thought Poeltl did a good job initially in the drop, and the Raps being +6 in the paint had to account for some of Poeltl’s presence.

G. Trent Jr.39 MIN, 24 PTS, 1 REB, 4 AST, 4 STL, 8-16 FG, 6-9 3FG, 2-2 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, 4 +/-

Trent was fantastic tonight. His teammates set him up for 3s, and he made his catch-and-shoot ones. He also got a great steal anticipating the point-to-wing pass.

D. Schroder37 MIN, 30 PTS, 0 REB, 9 AST, 0 STL, 11-18 FG, 3-6 3FG, 5-5 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 4 +/-

Schroder got some big buckets when the game came down to the wire. He put some points early on the board, and led all scorers with 14 points at the half (made two wing 3s from almost the exact same spot). But he also had some bad plays in the second quarter that resulted in giving the Pistons a four, five and nine-point lead. This was alarming when the Raps were at parity with the lowly Pistons. First, he nearly turned the ball over, was forced to hoist up a three, and fouled on the defensive end — which resulted in a bucket. Secondly, his only recorded turnover resulted in a Knox dunk. Thirdly, (thanks to Jack’s analysis) a bad pass by Schroder to Pascal resulted in the latter turning the ball over, and that was converted into a Duren dunk that put Detroit up nine points.

J. McDaniels17 MIN, 2 PTS, 1 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 0-3 FG, 0-1 3FG, 2-2 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -7 +/-

Coming off his best game as a Raptor, and he was an eager beaver. Two of his 2FG shots hit the front rim and were rushed. But he remained aggressive — even after he forced a shot, he had the confidence to pull up for a right corner 3. Striking a balance between knowing his role and him continuing to assert himself will be important as a wing role player.

O. Porter Jr.08 MIN, 0 PTS, 0 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 0-0 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -3 +/-

When you aren’t useful as a utility player, it’s a problem. He definitely had at least one terribly slow closeout on a wing 3 shot.

T. Young11 MIN, 6 PTS, 1 REB, 1 AST, 2 STL, 3-5 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, -9 +/-

Played limited minutes, but he was called his foot-to-shin foul was ruled a common foul — that was a solid closeout. After watching non-existing closeout in the first half, Young showing the yutes how to do it was refreshing to see.

C. Boucher17 MIN, 4 PTS, 2 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 0-1 FG, 0-1 3FG, 4-6 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -3 +/-

He was poke-a-roo this game. He got to the line, and though he looks completely lost or out of place (at times), he gets a C- for contesting threes properly and showed us why he was once an elite three-point shot blocker.

Darko Rajakovic

Went back to a conventional starting lineup: Schroder-Trent-Barnes-Siakam-Poeltl. Darko went nine-deep before the end of Q1. Scottie may have been tired, but he only had one personal foul by the end of Q3. Darko should’ve subbed him back sooner. Not sure why there wasn’t urgency to put the best guys out there in the second half. Raps were down four going into the final 12 minutes — the possibility of losing to the Pistons was very much alive with 12 minutes left…until it became a reality. It wasn’t just losing to the Pistons that made this bad. Darko was playing catch-up to the Pistons for three quarters.

Things We Saw

  1. Detroit shot 12-of-28 (43%) from downtown, and five out of their 12 made 3s were from the corners. But things could have been worse — there were some non-existent closeouts (e.g. some open three-point looks early in Q3), but they missed, so Raps simply got lucky.
  2. Raps didn’t closeout properly, yet were -9 in second chance points. They only gave up six offensive boards, but if you’re not closing out, rim protection needs to be a whole lot better.
  3. There’s the old saying about sinking down to the level of your competition. Still making sense of what it means to sink to Motown’s level. Are the Raps that bad? Or as Cade mentioned, did Detroit prove they are not as bad as their record shows? Will fans get 5 wings for winning? Maybe 10? Either way, it’s a humbling (perhaps depressing) moment to end 2023. See you in the New Year, happy Raptor fans.