Valiant effort by Toronto to begin a six game road trip without Jakob Poeltl, Immanuel Quickley and RJ Barrett. Barrett was the newest addition to the injury list, missing his first game as a Raptor due to knee swelling. Toronto has now lost five straight games, and 1-9 in the last 10 (all without Jakob Poeltl). Atlanta took advantage with 20 offensive rebounds, including the game winning tip-in from Saddiq Bey. The Hawks also scored a season high 76 points in the paint.
Despite another loss, this was an ideal game from a fan and developmental perspective. Fun and young guys getting key minutes, especially in clutch situations.
New Bench Mob?
It was the Jordan Nwora show for huge stretches of this game. Nwora posted season highs of 24 points, nine boards and six assists in his first extended look wearing a Raptor uniform. The self creation, shooting and playmaking were all impressive. He was also asked to guard Trae Young at times, which is a tough task for anyone because of how crafty Trae is at drawing fouls. Three of Gradey Dick’s baskets came off Nwora assists, resulting in the rookie’s second-high scoring game so far (15 points). Jontay Porter also knocked down three treys, finishing with 12 points and seven boards. Toronto outscored Atlanta’s bench 56-10, an accomplishment thats been unheard of in Raptor land for few years now.
A few wild sequences down the stretch found the Hawks down one in the final seconds.
Once again, this is where the rebounding issues came to the forefront once again. Nwora blamed himself postgame for letting Bey set up for a putback behind him with little resistance. The Raptors had a second left with no timeouts because of some earlier quick timeouts to prevent runs.
Here’s Nwora on his first double digit minute game as a Raptor.
Meanwhile Dick has played at least 12 minutes in all six games he’s played since being recalled from the 905. He’s averaging 6.3 points on 42 percent three point shooting in January, encouraging signs after looking lost a couple of months ago. Both Gradey and Darko Rajakovic talked about the recent progress.
- Unless there is some anti-Darko mutiny, the Raptors appear primed to break the 25+ assist record this coming week.
- 2nd half Trae against the Raptors has been a thing this season.
Up Next: Toronto faces Chicago for the fourth and final time this season on Tuesday.