The Toronto Raptors lose 109 to 105 to the Brooklyn Nets last night. The game ended up going down to the wire but clutch shots by both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving sealed the win for the Nets. Kyrie Irving had 30 points and Kevin Durant 27 as the Nets got their first win of the season. Here are my pros and cons from last night’s game.
Toronto Raptors Lose 109 to 105 to Brooklyn Nets – Pros
Pascal Siakam’s Monster Game – Pascal Siakam had 37 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists on 15 of 21 shooting. Wow! He was pretty much unstoppable. The Nets tried a variety of defenders on him, including Ben Simmons but it did not matter. He got any shot he wanted. Also, he banged on the boards and was the main facilitator of the Raptors offense. Pascal Siakam said he wanted to be a top five player this year and games like this show that he is serious about it. Wonderful game!
Fred Van Fleet’s Steady Play – They do not call him steady Freddie for nothing. He had a really solid game with 18 points, 7 rebounds, 9 assists, 4 steals on 7 from 11 shooting. He was solid on both offense and defense. He also picked his spots on when to look for his offense. If Fred Van Fleet keeps playing like this, the Raptors will be in great shape.
Toronto Raptors Lose 109 to 105 to Brooklyn Nets – Cons
Nick Nurse’s Decision Making – There’s is an old adage, talent wins games. This is true and no matter how good a coach is, talent ultimately wins out. However, bad coaching decisions can lose games. Nick Nurse is one of the best coaches in the league but a couple of his decisions cost the Raptors the game. The first decision was late in the third quarter. With the Raptors up by 10 points or so, he subs out Scottie Barnes, Thaddeus Young and Fred Van Fleet. He then subs in Dalano Banton, Gary Trent Jr. and Precious Achiuwa. When I saw this, I was pretty concerned as Pascal Siakam would be the only player that could pass and facilitate the offense. None of the three players who were subbed in and Koloko who was already on the court can do this. The Nets immediately went on a 17-0 run which went into the fourth quarter. I thought this could have been an opportunity for the Raptors to extend the lead especially with Durant being subbed out. I wanted Nick Nurse to stay with the current group but it did not happen.
The second bad decision was that Nick Nurse did not call a time out during the nets comeback and allowed the Nets to get back into the game. Earlier in the game, when the Nets went on a run, he allowed the starters to work through it. However, these are not the starters and this was a critical part of the game. Nick allowed the Nets to get life and it ended up costing them the game.
We Need Our injured Bench Players to Come Back Soon – The Raptors’ bench play has been bad. In particular Juancho Hernangomez, Precious Achiuwa and Dalano Banton have been bad so far. However, the sooner Chris Boucher, Otto Porter Jr., Khem Birch and Malachi Flynn can get healthy, the better our bench will be. Until then, our bench will be shaky and it might require our starters to play more minutes. However, this is something the Raptors do not want to do long term. So hopefully there will be a speedy recovery for the bench players!
It’s only game two so no need to panic. However, until the Raptors get back some bench players from injury, the starters might have to play a bit more. The team looks pretty good and hopefully they can get better and grow. In particular some of their bench players really need to up their game as they will be looked at to contribute. If they do not improve, changes might need to be made but let’s see what happens. On to the Miami Heat tonight!
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