The Toronto Raptors have one last game before the All-Star break, and they’ll welcome the Orlando Magic to Scotiabank Arena. The Raptors (27-31) lost back to back games against the Magic (23-34) a few months ago.
Now with the trade deadline passed, The Magic look different. The Raptors look a little different, but it’s more the injuries impacting the lineup at this point. OG Anunoby has been dealing with a wrist injury while Gary Trent Jr. missed Sunday’s game due a calf strain.
Yet, the crew was able to get the W, relying on the size of Jakob Poeltl, the scoring of Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet, and the quiet steadiness of Scottie Barnes.
Catch the Orlando Magic face the Toronto Raptors tonight at 7:30 p.m. EST on Sportsnet.
Where to Watch: Sportsnet
When: 7:30 PM EST
Toronto: Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, Scottie Barnes, Thad Young, Jakob Poeltl
Orlando: Paolo Banchero, Franz Wagner, Wendel Carter Jr., Markelle Fultz, Gary Harris
Toronto: OG Anunoby (OUT - wrist), Precious Achiuwa (Questionable - ankle), Gary Trent Jr. (Questionable - Calf), Otto Porter Jr (OUT)
Orlando: RJ Hampton (OUT), Cole Anthony (Day to Day)
Scottie Barnes - a Quiet Force
In comparison to VanVleet an Siakam’s blockbuster performances on Sunday’s one point victory over the Detroit Pistons, Scottie Barnes’ 20 points, two assists and four rebounds may not seem AS important by comparison.
Yet, it’s the exact opposite. Scottie did exactly what he needed to do in a game where two of the Raptors regular core guys were missing. He helped out his teammates, worked hard of defence, and scored enough to make a sizable contribution to the Raptors final score.
It’s also the percentages that are impressive. Those 20 points came off of 5-6 field goals and 3-4 three point shots. He got to the free throw line and scored 7-10. While he won’t always have the ball in his hands when Pascal Siakam is playing at an All-Star level and Fred VanVleet is hot, Scottie showed that he can take advantages of the times he has the best shot opportunity. It’s something the Raptors desperately need — depth.
The Raps have a Centre... most of the game
Jakob Poeltl has fouled out of both his games since returning to the Toronto Raptors. He’s not worried about it though. After Sunday’s game, Poeltl talked about how the Raptors have changed to a more aggressive form of defence since he’s been gone.
He assured everyone that once he has more time to adjust, he’ll be okay. He’s ready to take on a bigger role this time around with the Raptors as well, noting he wasn’t really surprised when he was called up to start in Sunday’s game, after Trent Jr. was ruled out.
Regardless, Poeltl is already feeling right at home back in Toronto. Fred VanVleet mentioned on Sunday that the two of them are back to talking through games, and how nice it is to have another playmaker on the court.
The Siakam VanVleet Special
Sunday’s game against the Pistons, while unfortunately a close one, was a Siakam and VanVleet masterclass. They were everywhere, making up for the absence if Anunoby and Trent Jr.
Siakam finished with 28 points, six assists and four rebounds. He was absolutely mechanical, showing his patience on plays when they Pistons had more than one man on him. As Dwane Casey said before the game, it’s just a testament to the work he has put in. He’s playing the best basketball of his career and Casey said, he only has more growing to do.
Fred VanVleet showed out his leadership as well. He scored 35 points, eight assists and three rebounds. Not only that, but he seemed like the floor general on and off the court. With Nick Nurse away from the team due to personal reasons, Fred VanVleet was right beside acting Head Coach Adrian Griffin, being vocal and leading his team. Expect more of that.
The Raptors tip-off against the Orlando Magic tonight at 7:30 pm EST on Sportsnet.