Well, that was quite a first half we saw last night, wasn’t it? I’ll let the AP’s Tim Reynolds sum it up:
Raptors 77, Jazz 37 at the half.— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) December 2, 2019
- Biggest halftime lead in the NBA this season
- Biggest halftime lead in Raptors history.
- Biggest halftime deficit in Jazz history
- Tied for 8th-biggest halftime margin in NBA history
Let’s get to the thoughts:
Hola, Aggressive Marc
Marc Gasol looked like he was fired up to face his old friend Mike Conley last night, as he was aggressive in the first quarter. He had four shots early, including a cutting dunk off a Pascal Siakam assist, returned the favour with an alley-oop to Siakam, and put in two three pointers; he was directly involved in the Raptors’ first 10 points! He added another triple, and finished the first quarter with 11 points, four rebonds and two assists, and only one passed-up-wide-open-shot.
In true 2019 Marc Gasol fashion, he did not score again.
Pascal With the Long Stride
We hear a lot of chatter about Giannis Antetokounmpo’s long strides, and how it seems like he can cover half the court in two steps. Well you know who else has long strides? Our guy Pascal Siakam:
Maybe not quite Giannis-esque, but one dribble from half court, Euro-step (or Afro-step if you prefer) plus the and-1? Pretty good!
Pascal quickly shook off his rough Friday night, scoring 35 on 22 shots with five boards and five assists.
There are not enough words to describe how amazing Toronto’s D was in the first half, as they completely smothered the Jazz and took Utah out of everything they wanted to do. Rudy Gobert was so thrown he missed a dunk and a layup! But let’s show this textbook ball denial and deflection from OG Anunoby to summarize the proceedings:
Watching that literally brought back painful memories of defensive stance and ball denial drills in high school; my quads are aching thinking about it now.
OG finished with four steals on the night, by the way.
No Fear from TD
When rookies challenge veteran big men, it usually goes poorly. But Terence Davis showed no fear last night, as he took a pass from Rondae Hollis-Jefferson in traffic (after RHJ pulled down an offensive rebound, naturally) and took off, right at Rudy Gobert. Gobert stepped up to challenge, even got a little bit of the forearm into Davis’ ribs, and Davis just calmly flipped a baby floater right over Gobert’s outstretched arm.
He came back and nailed a triple on the next play, too. This rookie is all right, man.
Welcome Back Serge
Serge Ibaka couldn’t have picked up a better game to come back, could he? No pressure, plenty of time to get his legs and get some shots up, shake off the ol’ rust. Nick Nurse even left him in there in garbage time to help with the conditioning. Serge finished with 13 points on 14 shots, so, his night went about as you’d expect; hopefully the extended run tonight has him ready for the big games this week against Houston, Miami and Philadelphia.
Serge was also responsible for the highlight of the night, this shimmy-into-a-pass to the corner to a wide-open Fred VanVleet... who wasn’t in the game.
How can you not love this team?!
I expected last night to be more of a challenge, certainly, but the third quarter did remind us, and the Raptors, of one thing: this isn’t a stretch of the schedule where you can let your foot off the gas. No matter the lead, you can’t get too comfortable against good teams in the modern NBA.