The outcome of last night’s contest between the Toronto Raptors and Sacramento Kings never really seemed in doubt, but thanks to a few dumb Raptors turnovers and some hot Kings shooting, the score remained close down the stretch — and the Raptors needed to survive a tense final minute to escape with the 124-120 victory.
There were some trends — good and bad! — that continued for Toronto, even after a three-day break. Let’s get to thoughts!
Give me More Marc Gasol Re-posts
I’ve expressed my desire for the Raptors to run more of the offense through Marc Gasol at the elbow or high post, so it did my heart good to see this sequence halfway through the first quarter:
I’ve always been a fan of the re-post, especially with a good passer like Gasol. Here, after a quick pick-and-roll exchange between Fred VanVleet and Gasol goes nowhere, Gasol kicks it out to VanVleet and VanVleet immediately enters it back into Gasol, who eventually finds OG Anunoby for three.
Not too many big men have the patience or creativity to manage that, and I’d like to see Toronto take advantage of that more.
I Have an Idea why the Kings are off to a Slow Start
They can’t defend! Every time the Raptors made an extra pass, the Kings were slow to rotate. Whether it was a drive and drop-off to the man in the dunker’s spot or a drive, kick and swing for a three-point attempt, the Kings were late and scrambling.
That’s what contributed to those 14 straight Raptor field goals in the first quarter — and Toronto not making those plays, and over-dribbling and iso’ing, contributed to the Kings staying in the game the second half.
I’ve Never Seen a Player Un-foul-out Before
Sometimes it’s tough to get excited about every single regular season game (maybe that's why Kawhi Leonard needs load management), but sometimes, you see something you’ve never seen before, and that makes tuning in worthwhile.
Last night, it was Terence Davis picking up his sixth foul in only seven minutes... and then having that foul (correctly!) rescinded! I’ve seen fouls changed from one player to another before, but never on a sixth and disqualifying foul.
And if Davis had fouled out? It still would have been something never seen before, at least in Raptors history: If he’d fouled out in his seven minutes, it would have been the fastest disqualification in Raptors history.
(The best part of the situation was, of course, Kyle Lowry, lobbying the officials (as always) to change the call, that he knew was right and they missed. We should all be so lucky as to have Kyle Lowry as a teammate. Imagine getting a speeding ticket with Lowry in the passenger seat? “No, no no no, it was the red car that was speeding, that’s who you got on your radar, man. No way, it wasn’t this car!”)
Pascal Siakam treated Trevor Ariza like a Traffic Cone
There was a time, as Leo Rautins reminded us yesterday, that Trevor Ariza was one of the best defenders in the league.
Well, Pascal Siakam has let s know that those days are over.
- In the first quarter, he crossed Ariza over and swooped in for a layup
- In the second quarter, he got behind Ariza for a breakaway dunk
- In the third quarter, he simply faced up, took Ariza off the dribble and drew the and-1
The old guard changeth, as they say!
Nick Nurse is Never Gonna Win a Challenge
I have to admit, I was pretty shocked to see Nick Nurse challenge that Kyle Lowry foul in the third quarter. Granted, Nick was on the opposite side of the floor, but that was very clearly a foul — Lowry bumped Buddy Hield as Hield went up, and had his hand on Hield’s back.
Was Nick just throwing the challenge away as he was gonna call a timeout anyway? Maybe! But that’s a challenge that you might wanna use later on, in a six-point game (at the time).
Like maybe the play where Aaron Fox clearly threw his shoulder into Lowry, but Lowry was called for the foul? And got a tech to boot, that made it a three-point game?
(Maybe they’d even have taken the tech back!?)
Regardless of Nurse’s challenge record (0-6!), the Raptors are in a good spot, sitting at 5-2 as they head out for a difficult Western Conference roadtrip. I think it’s a 3-2 trip, with both losses coming in LA on the back-to-back. What do you think?