The Toronto Raptors last won three straight games in April of this year, at exactly the wrong time — when they were trying to improve their draft position. They went on to lose 11 of their next 13, and that put them into position to draft Scottie Barnes — so it all worked out in the end!
Now, with Barnes making highlight reel plays nightly, things are going in the right direction, and the Raptors are once again looking for their third straight win, this time on the road against the Indiana Pacers.
Where to Watch:
Sportsnet, 7:30 PM EST
Toronto – Fred VanVleet, Gary Trent Jr., OG Anunoby, Scottie Barnes, Precious Achiuwa
Indiana – Malcolm Brogdon, Chris Duarte, Justin Holiday, Domantas Sabonis, Myles Turner
Toronto – Pascal Siakam (shoulder – out), Yuta Watanabe (calf – out)
Indiana – Kelan Martin - out (sore left hamstring), T.J. Warren – out (left foot stress fracture)
46th to sixth man
Dalano Banton was the first Raptor off the bench against the Pacers on Wednesday, and his play sparked the Raptors to their first home win. Against the Orlando Magic last night, he played the same role, only this time, he closed the game as well, and once again, the Raptors got the win. He’s averaging 10 points, three boards and 2.5 assists over the last two.
Pretty impressive for the 46th overall pick! Actually more than impressive, it’s historic:
So far, Dalano Banton has put together a top-20 rookie performance EVER, according to win shares per 48. Just below Michael Jordan and just above Oscar Robertson.— Louis Zatzman (@LouisZatzman) October 30, 2021
We’re obviously in ridiculously small sample size (as Louis himself points out in his follow-up tweet, but still — that’s a heck of a start!!
In both of the last two games, Banton has been joined by Khem Birch and Chris Boucher as the first subs, which is pretty cool — three Canadians coming in at the same time, for the Raptors, isn’t something I ever thought I’d see. Of course, when playing the Pacers, who have two Canadians of their own in Chris Duarte and Oshae Brissett. Five Canadians saw the floor at the same time on Wednesday and surely will again tonight. Half the players on the floor! Amazing.
Speaking of CanCon, be sure to check out Chelsea Leite’s new series, Homegrown Ballers, where she profiles our Team Canada stars. Her first piece, on Kia Nurse, is up now!
Social media was alive with excitement over Scottie Barnes last night, who had a three-step, full-length of the court dunk in the second quarter:
only 3 dribbles needed for Scottie Barnes pic.twitter.com/6Ge20Fk1nh— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) October 29, 2021
Barnes played his pal Jalen Suggs to a draw, but the Raptors got the win; ironically, thanks to Indiana’s 11-0 run in the final minutes, Suggs finished with a +7, while Barnes was -13. They each finished with 21 points.