In NBA action over the weekend, the Toronto Raptors lose to the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night 111 to 110. The Mavericks led most of the game and had a 96 to 81 lead going into the fourth quarter. However, the Raptors led by Scottie Barnes made a furious comeback and made the game close. All done without Fred Van Fleet who was still out and Pascal Siakam who strained his groin earlier in the game.
Last night, the Raptors bounced back and defeated the Bulls 113 to 104 at home. Fred Van Fleet returned to the line up and had 30 points, 11 assists and five rebounds. Here are my pros and cons from the last two games.
NBA Action Toronto Raptors Lose in Dallas Win at Home Against Chicago – Pros
Van Fleet and Koloko Pick and Roll – I saw this during the Rico Hines runs during the summer. However, we have not seen too much of this earlier in the season. However, tonight it was on full display and it looked great! Yes Christian Koloko really needs to work on his shooting but he can finish at the rim. The thing I like about it is that it opens up Fred Van Fleet’s game so much. When he comes off the pick and roll, it frees him up with so many options to pass or shoot. He found Koloko on a few rolls to the basket and he had a few nice open shots also. It also opens up space and passing lanes for him and his 11 assists is proof of that. The Raptors do not run a lot of pick and roll in their offense. However, I would like them to run a whole lot more, especially with Siakam injured.
OG Anunoby’s Steady Play – He has been great these last two games. In Dallas he had 27 points, and five steals. And in last night’s game he had 22 points, 6 rebounds and three steals. He has been the definition of an elite two way player. He is scoring more and his defense has been at an all NBA level. With Siakam out, the team will need him to continue this level of play moving forward.
NBA Action Toronto Raptors Lose in Dallas Win at Home Against Chicago – Cons
Nick Nurse’s Coaching in Dallas – There were two things that I was a bit frustrated with Nick Nurse during the Dallas game. The first thing was in the second quarter when he put in a line up with no ball handlers. He had a line up of Banton, Achiuwa, Trent, Boucher and Koloko. This line up in short order lost the lead and lost any momentum the Raptors had. I know he was thinking that Delano Banton would be the ball handler but Banton has been bad so far this year and it was no different on Friday. However, Nick Nurse rectified the mistake by not playing Banton last night.
The second thing, was he was doubling Doncic too much. The hard doubling works for most players, but not Luka. He eats up double teams and always finds open shooters. I was hoping Nick would just guard him one on one and let Doncic score and just shut everyone else down. One player cannot beat five. Even if you let Luka Doncic score 60 points, but you shut everyone else down, you have a real good chance to win. However, if you let Doncic get everyone else in rhythm, then it is going to be a lot tougher to win the game.
Pascal Siakam’s Injury – Siakam strained his groin by slipping on a wet spot in the game in Dallas. Reports indicate that he will be re evaluated in two weeks. Sounds like he might be out for awhile. You have to feel bad for him as he was playing at an MVP level before the injury. Hopefully he comes back at 100% and continues where he left off. For the Raptors, other players are going to have to step up their play to keep the team afloat until he comes back.
Hopefully the Raptors can navigate themselves without Siakam. Fred Van Fleet being back in the line up helps. However, they are going to need big contributions from Scottie Barnes and Gary Trent Jr. who has seemed off these last few games. They will have no time to rest as they play the Bulls again tonight in Chicago. The Bulls will be looking for pay back so I expect tonight’s game to be a lot harder. Hopefully other players step up and the Fred and Koloko pick and roll keeps being effective. Go Raptors!
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