As much as we’d love to celebrate the heroics of the Toronto Raptors’ Monday night game against the Atlanta Hawks forever, it’s time to move onto the next match. Hopefully set up for another win, the Raptors will face the San Antonio Spurs Wednesday evening in Texas.
This is one of two games on the Raptors short Texas road trip, and hopes are high to get the team further over the .500 level mark by the time they return to Toronto on the weekend.
The Raptors currently sit 4-3, their losses coming against the Brooklyn Nets, Miami Heat and the Philadelphia 76ers. Toronto had a tough start to their season, facing several top teams in the East. They’ve come out in a good spot.
The schedule lets up just a bit over the next few weeks, and it will be imperative to the Raptors’ standings to get wins and take advantage of the tumultuous start some other teams have had to their seasons.
Catch the Raptors face the San Antonio Spurs Wednesday night at 8:00pm on TSN.
The absence of Fred VanVleet
Fred VanVleet sat out of Monday’s game against Atlanta due to lower back soreness. He is currently questionable going into tonight’s matchup.
Instead of replacing VanVleet with one of the back up point guards, Nick Nurse opted to put Christian Koloko, the rookie, in instead. With several players in the lineup who can bring the ball up just fine, this gave the Raptors good size over a smaller Hawks lineup. It worked.
Scottie Barnes thrived in his role as “guard.” He scored 21 points, and booked eight assists and seven rebounds. He showed he is more than capable of playmaking on top of the responsibility on him to score. He also went 5/9 from the three point line — incredible.
If Fred continues to sit out for tonight’s game (he’s currently listed as questionable), expect Scottie Barnes to continue to take over some of this playmaking duties.
Pascal Siakam had a normal night against the Hawks. For Pascal Siakam anyway. He finished with a stat line of 31/6/12, missing out on a triple double mostly because Toronto was so ahead of Atlanta that there were over five minutes of garbage time in the fourth quarter.
Siakam continues to do All-Star, All-NBA things. He hasn’t scored below 20 points a game yet this season. He nears a triple double every night. He is the best player on the court, most of the time.
He looks the best he’s ever looked in his career.
Expect him to continue doing his thing in Texas. He is using his strength to get to the rim, he’s become a master at getting calls in his favor, and his shooting is unreal.
O.G. Anunoby, certified brick wall
O.G. Anunoby played some wild, incredible, out of this world defense against the Atlanta Hawks. He ended the game with SIX STEALS.
It was because of him that Trae Young played one of the worst games of his career. No offence to Young, we respect the kid, but O.G. was on another level.
Young ended the night with 14 points and 10 assists, and was held SCORELESS in the first quarter. For context, this is a player that averages 14 points in the first quarter, and that’s what the Raptors held him to all game.
With Anunoby accomplishing his stat line of 14 points, three assists, six rebounds and six steals, he is an ESSENTIAL player to the Raptors roster.
Any rust he had in the first few weeks of the season has been shaken off. O.G. looks incredible.
Whether or not the Raptors have Fred VanVleet going into Wednesday’s game against the San Antonio Spurs, they’ve proved they should be okay. The Spurs may be 5-2 on the season and therefore higher in the standings than the Raptors — but don’t let that fool you.
Don’t miss tip-off at 8:00 pm on TSN.