Fan Duel Toronto Raptors


Raptors snap four-game skid thanks to first half dominance

Despite everything going on, the Raptors took home the win.

Sports are weird man.

Hours before the ball was tipped at Scotiabank Arena, one of the greatest players to ever put on a Raptors uniform had been traded. Pascal Siakam was moved to the Indiana Pacers for Bruce Brown Jr., Jordan Nwora, Kira Lewis Jr., and three first-round picks. To make the deal happen, Christian Koloko was waved to free up an extra roster spot.

Despite all the noise, the show must go on, and that it did. Behind a phenomenal first-half performance, the Raptors took down the Heat 121-97.

Blazing Start

Toronto started this game on a 13-2 run, hitting three shots from downtown in the process. Nearly matching the same amount they hit against the Celtics last-game (4) in the opening minutes. Finishing the first quarter with seven made 3’s, nearly doubling what they had against Boston, while more than doubling up Miami on points by the end of the first, leading 41-18. They shot a blazing 62.5 percent from the floor and matched the most points they have scored in an opening quarter this year hours after trading their franchise player.

As I said, sports are weird.

Then, an 18-0 run for Toronto would cause them to go up by as many as 37 at one point, and lead at halftime 78-43. That 35-point gap became the largest deficit at halftime in Miami history. The Heat would try their best in the second half but the point differential created proved to be too much.

Team Effort

In game number one without Siakam, it was a complete effort from everyone to take this one home. Gary Trent Jr’s season-high of 28 points led the team as he hit a staggering eight shots from behind the arc, more than the entire Heat team had. Mississauga’s R.J. Barrett continued his string of great performances with his hometown club, putting up 26 points, eight rebounds, and three assists. His running mate and other former New York Knick Immanuel Quickley was on triple-double watch but couldn’t quite finish the deal. Finishing with 17 points, nine assists, and eight rebounds. Of course, you can’t forget about Scottie Barnes, as he ended with 20 points, eight assists, and five rebounds.

I got to give a shoutout to Javon Freeman-Liberty who made his NBA debut last night and scored his first career points. If you wanted to learn more about Freeman-Liberty I wrote an in-depth feature on him prior to yesterday’s debut.

I also want to give a shoutout to Gradey Dick. Who had the best performance in his young NBA career with six points, four assists, and two steals. Both his buckets were from behind the arc and he shot 100% from the field.

It was an interesting way to close out the first half of the season with the Raptors taking the W in game number 41. Their record now sits at 16-25 with the second half of the season beginning against an old friend in DeMar DeRozan and the Chicago Bulls. After that, they’ll play O.G. Anunoby and the Knicks, then two days later, square off against Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers.

Sports are weird.

There’s only one thing left to say…. two more wins till it’s pizza party time.