Quick Reaction: Raptors 104, Pistons 113

Toronto couldn't hande the size of Detroit, end their road trip 0-4, and have lost five in a row.

Box Score
B. Brown33 MIN, 17 PTS, 4 REB, 5 AST, 2 STL, 8-12 FG, 0-0 3FG, 1-2 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, -16 +/-

The Bruce Brown roller-coaster is definitely on a descending part of the track right now, and that drop has to be close to 90 degrees because it’s been a steep decline. Granted, I’m unsure how much his knee injury from before is bothering him, but he was a minus-seven through his first seven minutes on the floor. Mind you, plus-minus isn’t a perfect stat, Jalen McDaniels was a positive plus-minus player in this game, and the eye test did not support that calculus. Brown was not really providing much value on defence and on offence it was a mix of contested/low-percentage looks or ball-stopping, along with a handful of drop-in layups at the rim (do more of that).

O. Agbaji26 MIN, 0 PTS, 1 REB, 3 AST, 2 STL, 0-3 FG, 0-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -8 +/-

Ochai Agbaji played a very understated and simple game, but that wasn’t totally a bad thing. When other guys are clicking, not killing momentum can be just as valuable, plus, he had his hands full on defence. He still has a ways to go as a defender, like when he got shook out of his shoes by Marcus Sasser in the fourth quarter, but he’s trying and taking on the added responsibility with full commitment.

K. Olynyk31 MIN, 19 PTS, 6 REB, 8 AST, 2 STL, 8-11 FG, 2-4 3FG, 1-2 FT, 2 BLK, 6 TO, -8 +/-

Olynyk is so crafty and although he gives up quite a bit of it back on the defensive end (not totally his fault, he’s just physically outmatched against strong/athletic bigs), he provides a lot of value on offence. He was assertive with the ball in his hands, as a scorer or playmaker, linking up with rookie Gradey Dick twice for some nifty backdoor-cutting layups. If he could lessen the ball-watching and losing track of opposing bigs in transition, that would be nice, but doesn’t erase his impact on offence.

G. Dick32 MIN, 9 PTS, 3 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 4-13 FG, 1-6 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, -3 +/-

Gradey Dick, for a rookie, is ELITE at relocating/cutting. The variance of his movements is so advanced and offers him so many opportunities to create, especially when he’s surrounded with willing passers. Twice he made crisp cuts off Olynyk screens, and both times he could’ve easily zipped to the three-point line for a look, but instead, he chose to curl to the rim for strong finishes.

I. Quickley36 MIN, 25 PTS, 5 REB, 8 AST, 1 STL, 8-19 FG, 2-8 3FG, 7-8 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, -9 +/-

It was Immanuel Quickley’s return to the lineup after missing their previous game due to a hip flexor strain and he looked just fine. He led all Raptors at the half with 14 points and although he wasn’t focused on dishing the ball to others in the beginning (that was Kelly Olynyk’s job) Quickley was making his presence felt. He used his blistering speed on a couple of occasions for blowby layups, the coolest one was in the first quarter when he hit former teammate Quentin Grimes with a crossover and breezed past him for an and-one finish, plus stare down. His finishing at the rim is improving and that’s a major plus for the development timeline.

J. Nwora21 MIN, 12 PTS, 2 REB, 0 AST, 3 STL, 5-11 FG, 2-6 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -3 +/-

It was an erratic start for Jordan Nwora who was chucking the ball out the gates, felt like he was trying to do his best Gary Trent Jr. impression but on lower efficiency. Thankfully, he adjusted well by working his dribble a bit more and being more patient with his looks. He’s still got a long way to go as a defender, evidenced by a communication miscue in the first quarter where he completely left James Wiseman open on a PnR play, leading to the forward getting to the rim unimpeded for a massive dunk. But hey, he played a part in sticking a wedgie in the third quarter (shoutout No Dunks), so that’s a plus in my books.

J. McDaniels21 MIN, 8 PTS, 3 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 4-11 FG, 0-2 3FG, 0-1 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 5 +/-

When Jalen McDaniels thinks less, he does better. I feel like that’ll come across as an insult, and I don’t mean for it to, but he’s just simply not out there to be a major decision-maker, on-court processor, or sequence initiator. Once he focused on moving the ball, cutting hard, and playing effortful defence, he wasn’t really hurting the team. But then he went back to trying to handle the ball in the lane, take contested jumpers in the paint, and holding onto the ball to long before I was even done typing out my last sentence…*sigh*

J. Porter21 MIN, 10 PTS, 6 REB, 6 AST, 1 STL, 3-6 FG, 2-5 3FG, 2-4 FT, 4 BLK, 0 TO, 7 +/-

The Raptors started the second quarter on a 22-5 run and so much of that was thanks to Jontay Porter. In. a seven-minute span Porter hit a three, racked up three assists, a block, and a steal. He was very active with his hands, and when he’s giving up size (and weight) to the Pistons’ frontcourt, that’s exactly the right call. It’s feeling more and more likely that Jontay will get an NBA contract next season, either by the Raptors or another team.

J. Ramsey19 MIN, 4 PTS, 7 REB, 0 AST, 1 STL, 1-7 FG, 0-4 3FG, 2-2 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -10 +/-

Jahmi’us Ramsey got some real burn in this game, and given it was the Raptors’ final game before his 10-day contract expired, it made sense to give him a look. He wasn’t really able to showcase a ton, but we did get to see how fast he was on a couple beeline drives to the hoop. He hit a windmill dunk in transition (down 10 points) and that was about the most memorable thing from his night. Ramsey took open good-quality shots from deep for the most part but just wasn’t able to knock any of them down.

Darko Rajakovic

Darko’s offence is fun, it empowers bigs to create for others and make plays. There’s not much scheme-wise he could do to make up for the size disadvantage his front court was dealing with all night. I didn’t really see anything glaring from his rotations or adjustments worth criticizing, in fact, there were multiple instances when he was giving his team an earful for their lack of communication on defence.

Things We Saw

  1. Jontay Porter set a career-high in points (14) against the Nuggets, and in this one, he set a career-high in blocks (4). What’s next?
  2. The Pistons have only beaten three teams more than once this season, the Hornets, the Bulls, and now the Raptors…(h/t Es Baraheni @JustEsBaraheni)
  3. The Raptors avoided being just the third team (Hornets x2 and Bulls) to be held under 100 points by the Pistons this season…so there’s that.