In just his 2nd start for the Raps, the big fella was doing a bit too much. When your teammates are firing on all cylinders, sometimes setting good screens and rebounding the basketball is all you need to do. But hey, Len played some solid D on Nurkic and wasn’t a total liability at the 5, which is something I haven’t been able to write often this season.
An extremely overlooked key to this almost-victory was OG’s smothering on ball defense and ability to limit McCollum and Lillard’s shooting. OG also hit a couple huge threes at the beginning of the third right when Portland was making their run, and again in the fourth when they clawed back again, calming everyone down. However, he had a couple forgettable turnovers, timid moments on offence and looked flat awkward with the ball at times, which lost him some brownie points.
Not a huge offensive night for Freddy, but that was largely due to the stellar performance of his teammates. The team’s leader in field goal attempts got a night off shouldering the offensive load for Toronto in this one, but still contributed to winning basketball. He handled the ball with poise, initiating the dribble penetrations and making the extra pass on a large share of Toronto’s offensive sets.
His first shot of the game was a carbon copy of the game winner he missed last night in Oakland. The only difference? It went in. It was an encouraging start to an absolute heater of an evening for Siakam, who was easily the best player on both ends of the court Monday evening in Portland. Posting his first career triple double, Pascal’s impact was felt everywhere in this one – a deadeye jumper, excellent passing and boards galore. A miss at the buzzer for a second straight game was the only sour note on an otherwise sweet evening for Spicy P.
If you told me a point guard in this game was going to have 3 triples and 14 points in the first 14 minutes, I’d presume you were talking about Damian Lillard. Kyle Lowry had other ideas in this one. It was just more of the same from the greatest (and debatably most loveable) Raptor of all time on Monday. He put his foot on the pedal early, looking for his shot, then eased out of asserting his offensive dominance, into conducting the humming locomotive that was the Raptors offence on Monday night. Did exactly what he needed to do in this one, just when his team needed him to do it. Really deserved a W to go along with this performance.
Raptors Twitter nearly had a collective brain aneurism when their starting lineup change didn’t feature Boucher at the 5. But on his 28th birthday, Slim Duck did what he does best – be the 6th man fire-starter he’s been all season long. The game is definitely starting to slow down for the 3rd year big, who’s making seismic strides offensively. His three point shot, touch around the rim and most importantly his decision making were all in impeccable form this evening. Oh, and did I mention he had 3 blocks? Somebody get this man a slice of cake!
Johnson his first 3, shot the ball with confidence and got all up in the shorts of Lilliard and McCollum all night long. When your teammates are doing the heavy lifting on offense, making good cuts, filling open space and playing heads up basketball can go a long way to protecting a lead. Stanimal did all those things tonight, and likely carved out some more minutes for himself in the rotation in the process.
He canned his first triple, and steadily chipped in all night long for his team. Whether it was a corner three shot with confidence, a swift outlet pass in transition or a loud putback, Norm made you notice him out there in this one.
Gave the Raps some hard, punchy minutes in this one. He came in during some key stretches during the 2nd and 3rd quarters where Toronto needed to sustain the energy created by its starters as they headed to the bench. TD was a key piece of the second unit which helped to prevent Portland from ever gaining true control of this game before the very end.
Nurse did all the right things to put his players in a position to succeed tonight, they just weren’t able to execute when it mattered most.