Quick Reaction: Pacers 140, Raptors 123

Toronto's can't make it three wins in a row as their final home game of the season ends with a loss.

Box Score
R. Barrett33 MIN, 23 PTS, 4 REB, 4 AST, 1 STL, 10-19 FG, 0-3 3FG, 3-3 FT, 0 BLK, 5 TO, -12 +/-

When RJ Barrett first got to the Raptors and started his tenure with his hometown squad on a torrid pace, the idea of him turning into an all-star in Toronto popped into my head. I genuinely believe a full season of Barrett, the way he’s played with the Raptors this season (and on a winning team), is enough to warrant all-star consideration next year. It was Barrett’s sixth consecutive 20-point game as he continued his downhill dominance, and with no Quickley in the lineup, we even saw him carry some of the initiator duties. He even operated as a pick-and-roll ball handler at times, finding open players and was constantly moving the ball when his drives weren’t there.

O. Agbaji29 MIN, 2 PTS, 3 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 0-6 FG, 0-2 3FG, 2-2 FT, 3 BLK, 1 TO, -7 +/-

Ochai Agbaji’s offence was practically non-existent in this game but his defence was fairly positive until Tyrese Haliburton got cooking in the second half. At the end of the day, he’ll need to develop the 3 in 3-and-D but at least he’s showing off the latter part through stretches. A big reason for bringing Agbaji in was to take a shot at him turning into this team’s next perimeter stopper after they traded OG Anunoby away, so that part showing promise is positive.

K. Olynyk34 MIN, 22 PTS, 5 REB, 4 AST, 1 STL, 6-7 FG, 1-1 3FG, 9-10 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -17 +/-

With Immanuel Quickley out for this one, the Raptors went back to operating their offence through Kelly Olynyk in the high post for chunks at a time. In that regard, it was a pretty awesome game for Olynyk – he had a moment where he crossed up Jalen Smith then drilled a stepback jumper, and later he did a “now you see me now you don’t” move for a reverse layup. That part made me nearly fall out of my seat…The other side of the ball was also intriguing as he continues to show glimmers of strong defence in a help/sweeper role. Olynyk leads NBA centres in deflections this season per BBall Index, and most of that comes from reading passing lines like he did in the first quarter when he sprinted down from one end to the other and disrupted a dump-off pass to Myles Turner. As the only NBA-calibre centre on this team right now, Olynyk’s defensive potential is limited, but getting him back into a reserve role for a full season will show what he can offer on that end.

G. Trent Jr.34 MIN, 16 PTS, 3 REB, 4 AST, 4 STL, 7-19 FG, 0-7 3FG, 2-4 FT, 0 BLK, 3 TO, -9 +/-

A pretty subdued Gary Trent Jr. performance. Probably his quietest stretch of play during the last couple of weeks, considering most of his scoring came when the game was out of reach. His shot wasn’t falling for most of the night and he wasn’t making up for it offensively by showing off much playmaking until later on. He still remained active on defence, playing an engaged style and it’s something that’s been appreciated as of late.

J. Freeman-Liberty33 MIN, 20 PTS, 8 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 7-10 FG, 2-3 3FG, 4-4 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -11 +/-

Javon Freeman-Liberty scored seven of the team’s first nine points, scoring 14 in the first quarter alone. For context, his career-high entering tonight for an entire NBA game was 16 points. A big bright spot of his stellar performance was the fact it wasn’t all just scrappy putbacks that led to his scoring, he was leveraging his jumper as well. A big part of his development this year has been to work on his point guard play and also work on his shooting, and tonight the latter part really shined. For his opportunity to continue through summer league and next season, that jump shot is going to be pivotal.

B. Brown28 MIN, 16 PTS, 3 REB, 5 AST, 0 STL, 7-12 FG, 0-1 3FG, 2-4 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, -16 +/-

The Bruce Brown experience is like your favourite rollercoaster from when you were younger and realizing now that it has a horrible safety record. You look back at the memories and remember how fun they were, and the ride still has its charm, but it’s constantly on the verge of flying off the rails. Thankfully, tonight was not a night of disaster. Brown’s shot selection was as dicey as it’s been for most of the season but those looks were dropping. At one point he took a side-step dribble and decelerated into a floater amongst the trees of Indiana and got it to fall, and then he took a similar shot a couple more times.

M. Williams14 MIN, 6 PTS, 9 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 3-8 FG, 0-1 3FG, 0-2 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, 0 +/-

Malik Willaims is clearly limited in what he can offer offensively, but his headiness around the glass is refreshing. Without a true centre like Jakob Poeltl, having someone with size and weight to pack the paint is a welcomed addition. Williams was definitely the Raptors’ strongest rebounder on the night.

J. McDaniels16 MIN, 7 PTS, 2 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 3-7 FG, 0-1 3FG, 1-2 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -6 +/-

I’m kind of at a loss for words when it comes to Jalen McDaniels. All I can say from this one is that at 6-foot-9, he lost a jump ball to 6-foot-6 Doug McDermott.

J. Nwora19 MIN, 11 PTS, 3 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 4-6 FG, 2-2 3FG, 1-2 FT, 2 BLK, 2 TO, -7 +/-

A fairly efficient offensive game, and he did a decent job of not forcing lthings. Unfortunately, he continues to be a turnstile on defence. For emphasis, this was part of a Caitlin Cooper (@C2_Cooper) tweet from this game: “Next play, Nesmith drives from ATB and finishes w/ his left (against Nwora, but still).” Nwora is at a point where people aren’t even remotely surprised, let alone impressed when players are beating him on that end. He did appear to suffer a lower-body injury in the final two minutes, and hopefully he recovers swiftly.

Darko Rajakovic

Don’t have many qualms with how Darko Rajakovic managed this one. In principle, decisions like going zone against a lineup with more bigs on the floor makes sense, but a guy like Obi Toppin, who’s really developed on those corner threes, might make you pay. Having any combination of McDaniels, Brown, and Nwora on the floor together is where I raise an eyebrow but he’s only got so many bodies available, I guess.

Things We Saw

  1. The Raptors home finale ends with a loss, so they finish with a 14-27 record at home to end the season. That’s fewer home wins than the Tampa season (16) and their fewest since the 2011-2012 season when they won 13 games at Scotiabank Arena.
  2. There were multiple times throughout the game where Scottie Barnes can be seen out of his seat and animated as heck, either communicating to the Raptors’ defence or just celebrating a big play. There was one moment in particular where Scottie was yelling from the bench and it seemed like Gary reacted to it and quickly doubled Pascal Siakam and forced a turnover. Not having Barnes on the floor sucks, but if his voice can get even louder for when he returns, it’ll be a positive by-product of an otherwise negative circumstance.
  3. For the tankathon watchers, this was a double-edged sword type of game. The Raptors losing does continue solidifying themselves into the sixth-best lottery odds, but it hurt their later first-round pick via Indiana. The Pacers winning also helped them clinch a playoff spot.