Ahhhhh, remember when the Raptors waxed the Pacers by a franchise-record 46 points? How about the game before that one where Toronto beat down on the Suns and Siakam went off for 37 points? All right, I’ll be honest, I don’t really remember more than that and Kelly Oubre getting swallowed up by Serge at the rim from that Phoenix game but that might have more to do with Phoenix being Phoenix.
Oooooh, remember last night when the Raptors lost to the Bucks? How great would it be to forget that one? Toronto played the Bucks to a draw in the first and started to look they might pull away in the second only to see Milwaukee end the quarter on a 11-1 run. That stretch proved to be the killer as Toronto’s starters were capital B, Bad throughout the remainder of the game.
Alas, there is a ton of good to talk about in that three game stretch where Toronto went 2-1, so let’s dig in.
Matt Thomas, Mr. 99%
Is Matt Thomas a garbage time gunner or a break in-case of emergency, zone busting sharpshooter? Why not both? Here’s Matty Ice going off for a casual 17 points in the 4th quarter against a gutted Pacers squad.
darren3dub on youtube is a legend for these Matt Thomas sound effects. I'm forced to believe that darren3dub is @steven_lebron's burner account#Raptors #Pacers #WeTheNorth @Theiceman_21 pic.twitter.com/FfLApb7qoL— Jordan Tomiyama (@Jttomiyama) February 24, 2020
Followed by a non-casual picking apart of Khris Middleton around screens for a very quick 9 point burst in five minutes that caused Coach Bud to call a timeout.
Raptors rookie Matt Thomas came out and torched the Bucks for three 3PTs in 5 mins pic.twitter.com/xKcTyZkqOJ— Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) February 26, 2020
Thomas was instrumental in the Raptors keeping their foot on the Pacers necks and in propelling the Raptors to their biggest lead of the game against the Bucks. Maybe he’s just the guy that comes in and does what he’s supposed to do when his number his called?
Nick Nurse said he wanted to try some things out in last night’s game and you have to figure he didn’t want to tip his hand too much to Budenholzer’s Bucks. Why else play your best player only 12 minutes when he was a team best +12? Maybe it just wasn’t that big of an emergency to beat the Bucks in the regular season.
Terence Davis, Un-guardable
Speaking of Khris Middleton getting picked apart. Terence Davis broke Middleton down with an inside-out crossover and the rookie proceeded to do this after picking up the foul.
Jack Armstrong said that Serge Ibaka had “big you know whats” during last night’s Bucks game, but come on — this is the epitome of big you know whats, right here.
Chris Boucher, Destroyer of Worlds
You know who was a better option in the middle than Serge Ibaka last night? Mr. Slimm Duck himself, Chris Boucher. Boucher was an integral part of the Kyle Lowry plus bench lineup that sparked the most inspired play of the night for the Raps and this dunk right here, was a big part of why.
With the starters having a particularly off-night throughout the course of the game, Toronto could have used a touch more in the minutes column for guys like Boucher, who, admittedly had been having a rough spell with his jumper. Chris’ extremely high confidence all but guarantees that a shooting slump is not meant to last and the Quebec-er came to play. Boucher’s paint protection was also stellar over the three game slate as he averaged a tidy 3.0 blocks per game and 6.9 flexes into the camera.
Segre Ibaka, One Bad Game
You know how when you’re hanging out with friends and one of them is just in a real shit mood and that shit mood kind of permeates the rest of the crew’s mood? That’s kind of what last night felt like with Serge Ibaka. Ibaka was a woeful 2-of-15 and 1-of-10 from beyond the arc and had three turnovers where it looked like his hands were made out of Bismack Biyombo’s hands. A -17 on the night that frankly looked a lot worse considering his body language was off for most of the entire game.
But it’s just one game (albeit a big game). Serge is having one the best years of his career and has been monumental in many of the Raptors wins this year. Hell, take out that Bucks game this week and Serge averaged 15.5 points and 10.5 boards and a cumulative +38. Bad games are bound to happen, so, maybe that’s all this was. Hopefully.
Drake, I Personally Can’t
Drake is the ultimate cornball. You also cannot understate how important he’s been for the Raptors. I struggle to reconcile the two worlds as one, but here we are, living in it.
But this? This amazingly non-photoshopped photo perfectly sums up how corny this dude can be sometimes. Not only did he bring three of these hats to the game (at least that we saw) he also brought championship belts to clown on the Bucks very bizarre (and admittedly, very clown-worthy) back-room wrestling gig they’ve got going on.
Drake, if you’re reading this, don’t blow this for us, man!