Sports Takeaways: Raptors’ talent becoming undeniable, even shorthanded

12:21  14 november  2019
12:21  14 november  2019 Source:   sportsnet.ca

Siakam scores third 30-point game as Raptors down Casey and Pistons

  Siakam scores third 30-point game as Raptors down Casey and Pistons TORONTO — Pascal Siakam scored 30 points, Fred Van Vleet added 13 points and 11 assists, and the Toronto Raptors beat the Detroit Pistons 125-113 on Wednesday for their first win against former coach Dwane Casey. Siakam put up at least 30 points for the third time in five games this season, and added five rebounds and five assists as Toronto (4-1) improved to 1-3 against Casey since he became head coach of the Pistons last year. Kyle Lowry hadSiakam put up at least 30 points for the third time in five games this season, and added five rebounds and five assists as Toronto (4-1) improved to 1-3 against Casey since he became head coach of the Pistons last year.

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Fred VanVleet, Kent Bazemore are posing for a picture: raptors-trail-blazers-vanvleet-bazemore© Provided by Rogers Media Inc raptors-trail-blazers-vanvleet-bazemore

Though lacking the ‘prime time’ feel of the back-to-back in Los Angeles, the Toronto Raptors’ Wednesday night affair with the Portland Trail Blazers still proved to be an enlightening test as the team continued to look good despite being decimated by injuries.

Entering the Rose City to play their third game in four nights on the road, the Raptors looked due to lay an egg — and the way they started, it certainly looked like it as the Blazers, who were on the second night of a back-to-back, opened up a 13-2 advantage at the first timeout of the game and ended up battling back to enter the second half with a lead.

John Hollinger: Raptors a ‘chief destination point’ for Antetokounmpo

  John Hollinger: Raptors a ‘chief destination point’ for Antetokounmpo With his report surfacing that the Raptors would be a suitor for Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokoumpo when he becomes an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2021, John Hollinger explained why. The post John Hollinger: Raptors a ‘chief destination point’ for Antetokounmpo appeared first on Sportsnet.ca.Exciting news to hear if you’re a Raptors fan, but also probably very obvious given the fact that the Raptors are expected to be absolutely flush with cap space to sign a max-level free agent. That’s a distinction that’s not so distinctive when you consider most of the league is also preparing to make a run at Antetokounmpo as well.

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Then, in the fourth quarter, just after Portland went on an 11-2 run to open the frame and tie it up, the Raptors would go on a 7-2 spurt of their own to take the lead back and never relinquish it, improving the team’s record on this five-game Western Conference road swing to 3-1.

Shorthanded or not, it’s becoming pretty apparent that these Raptors are just plain good, and very much worthy of their defending champion moniker.

Here are a few more observations from the Raptors’ 114-106 victory over the Blazers on Wednesday night:

Raptors’ dynamic duo gets the job done

How’s this for a combined line? Sixty-six points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists on 25-for-44 shooting.

Coming into Wednesday night if you were to see that line you’d probably think it came from the Blazers’ duo of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, but no, this was a Pascal Siakam-Fred VanVleet special.

Fred VanVleet’s tenacious play setting tone for shorthanded Raptors

  Fred VanVleet’s tenacious play setting tone for shorthanded Raptors If the Toronto Raptors at full strength had returned from their current five-game, nine-day road trip with three wins against two losses it would’ve been a pretty good result. The post Nov. 15: Thursday night foot-brawl appeared first on Sportsnet.ca.But those Toronto Raptors don’t exist.

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Even more impressive? They did the brunt of their damage in the second half.

Of the 36 points Siakam put up, 24 came in the second half on scorching 10-of-15 shooting. And for VanVleet, 10 of his 30 came in the third quarter alone.

It’s astounding to think that a player taken 27th overall and an undrafted guy can become franchise cornerstones and look like superstars, but here we are.

Siakam and VanVleet absolutely burned the Blazers, and there’s no good argument out there as to why they can’t just do the same to any other club in the NBA.

Rotation revelations

Given the injuries the Raptors have sustained recently — quick reminder: Kyle Lowry (thumb), Serge Ibaka (ankle), OG Anunoby (eye), Patrick McCaw (knee) — the once little-used, little-known guys have become the subject of much greater importance and scrutiny. So here’s a quick glance at how each of these guys fared on Wednesday.

Raptors unveil all new 2019-20 OVO City Edition jerseys

  Raptors unveil all new 2019-20 OVO City Edition jerseys The Toronto Raptors officially unveiled their new 2019-20 OVO City Edition jerseys on Friday. The post Projecting Team Canada’s WJC selection camp roster appeared first on Sportsnet.ca.Design-wise, the jersey keeps with past OVO styles, incorporating the black-and-gold that is now readily associated with Drake and his accompanying OVO branding.

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Starting with the good: Undrafted rookie Terence Davis had himself a night, scoring a career-high 15 points on 5-of-10 shooting, including a 3-for-6 mark from deep.

It seems as though with every opportunity Davis gets to prove himself, he takes the bull by the horns and runs with it. Wednesday night was no different, and if he continues down this track, there’s absolutely no way he should be frozen out of minutes even when the Raptors get healthy again.

The same can be said of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.

After a shaky start, Wednesday proved to be a third straight game of just-manic-enough effective energy play fuelled by tremendous hustle, relentless effort and even more heart.

In 26 minutes played, Hollis-Jefferson finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds, but perhaps even more important than that impressive line was the defensive focus and intensity he brought.

And looking at the not-so-good: Chris Boucher, after having two straight solid games, looked like his energetic self out there in grabbing seven rebounds in about 14 minutes, but was only 1-of-4 from the floor.

Raptors’ Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka nearing return from injury

  Raptors’ Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka nearing return from injury After Toronto Raptors practice on Friday, head coach Nick Nurse provided an injury update on Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka, indicating that both are nearing a return to action. The post Nov. 22: It’s All Better In Leafland appeared first on Sportsnet.ca.Providing an update after practice on Friday, Raptors coach Nick Nurse said that the team is "shooting for" a Dec. 1 return for Lowry when the Raptors are scheduled to face the Utah Jazz at Scotiabank Arena.

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Matt Thomas looked nothing like the deadeye shooter we’ve come to expect, going 1-for-6 from the floor and 0-for-3 from deep. Simply put, if Thomas isn’t hitting shots, there’s basically no reason at all for him to be on the floor.

Raptors coach Nick Nurse found some time to give Stanley Johnson and was rewarded with two fouls picked up in just under five minutes played.

But as bad as that sounds, Malcolm Miller’s rare appearance may have been even worse. Miller got the start in replacement of Anunoby, and even though he played slightly more than Johnson, you’d almost think he was invisible out there as the only statistics that registered was a missed three, an assist, a turnover and a minus-6 plus-minus rating.

Another night, another superstar Raptors D locks up

Here’s a super stat for you: In the last three games, the Raptors have faced perennial MVP candidates (when they’re healthy, of course) LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard and Damian Lillard. And in those contests, they’ve managed to hold them to a dismal 23.7-per cent shooting.

Specifically looking at Lillard, the Raptors held him to only nine points on 2-for-12 shooting, something that broke his Portland franchise-best streak of 230 games with at least 10 points or more.

So how are the Raptors doing this? Firstly, you have to give props to Hollis-Jefferson, who in many cases Monday against Leonard and Wednesday versus Lillard was the primary defender and revelled in the task of stopping the opposing team’s best player.

Outside of that, Nurse also deserves some major praise for his defensive strategy. He’s been very aggressive in his schemes by blitzing these star players and almost daring them to make the extra pass, otherwise they’ll be steered into a problem area and be forced into a tough shot or situation.

It’s worked thus far and up next for the Raptors will be young stud Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday. We’ll see if this same strategy holds water against the Slovenian phenom then.

Raptors-Knicks believed to be first time four Canadians on NBA court together .
TORONTO — For nearly six minutes on Wednesday, four Canadians were on the floor together in an NBA game — apparently for the first time in history. The Toronto Raptors thrashed New York spoiling the first NBA game at home for Knicks rookie RJ Barrett. With 5:52 to play and the game out of reach, Raptors coach Nick Nurse subbed in Oshae Brissett, a 21-year-old from Toronto. Barrett, a 19-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., and Ignas Brazdeikis ofThe Toronto Raptors thrashed New York spoiling the first NBA game at home for Knicks rookie RJ Barrett.

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