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Counting down the top 10 Raptors games of the 2019-20 season: #5 to #1

Welcome back to our top 10 Raptors games of the 2019-20 season — so far. Today, we’re going from #5 all the way to number one. Any guesses? Read on.

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Los Angeles Lakers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to Raptors HQ’s Top 10 Raptors Games of 2019-20! You’re currently reading part two — our countdown from #5 to the #1 game of the season — so if you haven’t read part one yet, feel free to do that first.

As a quick reminder:

We decided to pore over the 2019-20 regular season and decide on the top 10 Raptors games based on three criteria:

  1. How fun was the game?
  2. How memorable was the game?
  3. How important was the matchup?

In each of the three categories, we both scored the games individually from 1-10. Then, we added up our scores to determine the order.

Let’s find out which games landed in our top five list:

Game Rank No. 5: Oct. 22, 2019 - Raptors 130, Pelicans 122 (OT)

  • Fun Factor: Dylan - 8, Sully - 7
  • Memorability: Dylan - 9, Sully - 10
  • Importance: Dylan - 9, Sully - 10
  • Game score: 53

The Raptors got to relive their magical 2019 championship title once more by celebrating the raising of their championship banner and receiving their rings when they took on the New Orleans Pelicans on Opening Night. The night itself will be one Raptor fans will never forget as they witnessed championship glory, which is why it ranks high in memorability and importance.

Onto the game, it looked like the Pelicans were about to spoil the night for the Raptors as they led for the better part of the first half. Surprisingly, they came out with more energy and with every run the Raptors put together, they matched it with their own.

However, when the second half got underway, Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet took matters into their own hands. They helped the Raptors outscore the Pelicans by seven in the third frame, getting everything at the rim and from deep. Then when Toronto went down by two late in the fourth quarter, Siakam got called for an offensive foul and fouled out. Kyle Lowry ended up tying it with two free throws and the Raps had a to win it but if you recall, Norman Powell had the ball with eight seconds left and took and missed the most outlandish three-pointer to send the game to OT.

From there, Lowry led the team to victory by setting up Powell for an easy deuce, followed by Powell dishing it to Marc Gasol for an and-one, then Gasol hitting VanVleet for a corner three, and to top it all off, Lowry hit the dagger by draining a three-pointer. Siakam and VanVleet ended up combining for 68 points, 23 rebounds, and 12 assists. Truly a night for the ages.

Game Rank No. 4: Feb. 5, 2020 - Raptors 119, Indiana Pacers 118

  • Fun Factor: Dylan - 9, Sully - 10
  • Memorability: Dylan - 8, Sully - 8
  • Importance: Dylan - 9, Sully - 10
  • Game score: 54

It seems as the saying goes as “death, taxes, and the Raptors smacking the Pacers.” The Raptors won the season series over the Pacers 3-1 but none were as exciting as this one. The Raps had control over this game, going up by 12 at one point early in the second quarter. Then the Pacers woke up and went on a 43-18 run to take a 62-48 lead into halftime.

They weren’t done there as Indiana pushed their lead to 19 early in the third quarter and held it to 18 with 6:30 remaining. A quick 17-2 run by the Raptors got them back in it but the Pacers kept their lead going into the fourth and were well on their way to victory as they were up 118-108 with 2:20 left in the game.

Then the most improbable run by the Raptors took place. Toronto went on an 11-0 run with 2:20 left to win it thanks to clutch baskets from Siakam, Lowry, and the game-winning three-pointer by Serge Ibaka with 29.5 seconds left. From there, the Raptors’ defense clamped on Victor Oladipo, who missed a three-pointer with 12 seconds left and while the Pacers got the offensive rebound, they couldn’t get a good handle on it to generate a shot, leading to the Raptors recovering the ball it to seal the victory.

Game Rank No. 3: Dec. 22, 2019 - Raptors 110, Mavericks 107

  • Fun Factor: Dylan - 10, Sully - 10
  • Memorability: Dylan - 10, Sully - 10
  • Importance: Dylan - 8, Sully - 9
  • Game score: 57

The biggest and most improbable comeback in franchise history happened on this day. To begin, this game was off the rails from the get-go. The Raptors were 11-1 early in the first and seemed like it was going to be another blowout as Dallas just couldn’t get into a proper offensive set. However, they managed to tighten things up while the Raptors’ O got into a funk. It ended up being a back-and-forth contest up until late in the second when the Mavericks took a 51-42 lead into halftime that ended off to with a 35-foot buzzer-beating trey by Kristaps Porzingis.

Then things got loosey-goosey for Toronto. Coming out of the half, Toronto defense just let up, allowing easy drive-ins and uncontested threes for Dallas. With their offense not helping their cause to get back in the game, the Mavs broke out to 83-53 lead, the biggest lead of the game with 2:50 left in the third.

At that point, Kyle Lowry and the Raptors decided to make it a game again and began their historic comeback with a Chris Boucher and-one dunk. Toronto went on to close the gap to 23 before the fourth quarter — and just kept it going. Lowry, Boucher, Terence Davis, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson all scored in the fourth to tie it at 95 with 5:30 left in the game. From there, Toronto’s defense buckled down and stopped the Mavs from getting good looks. Lowry’s masterful play of 32 points (20 points scored in the fourth alone!), 10 assists, eight rebounds, Boucher’s career-high of 21 points, and Hollis-Jefferson’s 18-9 led the Raptors to a 47-21 outburst in the fourth quarter to win 110-107.

Game Rank No. T-1: Nov. 10, 2019 - Raptors 113, Lakers, 104

Fun Factor: Dylan - 10, Sully - 10

Memorability: Dylan - 10, Sully - 10

Importance: Dylan - 10, Sully - 10

Game score: 60

Without Lowry and Ibaka, the Raptors could have easily folded against LeBron James, Toronto’s long-time nemesis. Instead, Siakam, VanVleet and company arrived in Los Angeles with a chip on their shoulder, aiming to put on a show against the purported best team in the league.

Siakam started the game out slowly, but eventually joined Fred and rose to the occasion with a big third-quarter surge, hitting some superstar-quality shots. Perhaps what’s most memorable about this game, however, is how the Raptors’ bench exploded for 43 points on 62 percent from the field, including some especially exhilarating plays from Chris Boucher and Terence Davis. Prior to this game, we didn’t quite know how Toronto’s bench would do under the bright lights — but they showed up big time.

Needless to say, this win felt good — like, really good. If you find yourself feeling low during this NBA hiatus, we recommend going back and watching this game again. It’s a picker-upper, to be sure.

Game Rank No. T-1: Nov. 25, 2019 - Raptors 101, 76ers 96

  • Fun Factor: Dylan - 10, Sully - 10
  • Memorability: Dylan - 10, Sully - 10
  • Importance: Dylan - 10, Sully - 10
  • Game score: 60

What more could you ask for? Marc Gasol held known-taunter and franchise rival Joel Embiid to zero points for the first time in his career, spawning countless memes and prompting ridicule from fans and media alike. It was glorious.

VanVleet was hot all night, putting up 24 points on 9-for-15 shooting. Terence Davis worked wonderfully with Gasol in the fourth quarter for some timely buckets. Siakam came up with the clutch sequence of the game, sealing the win with a beautiful “and-one” and a subsequent steal on the other end. Oh yes, let’s not forget that Pascal ferociously dunked the ball as time expired, leading to the scientific discovery that nothing tastes sweeter than enraged Philadelphian tears.

Thanks for reading! Let’s hope this incredible season can continue into the playoffs. Let us know which game was your favourite!