On Friday the Toronto Raptors continued their 7-game home stand against RJ Barrett and the New York Knicks. The Knicks are 3-7 in their last 10, while Toronto is coming off a devastating 1-point loss to OKC. Despite missing OG Anunoby, Khem Birch and Precious Achiuwa, the team dug deep to get the 90-87 win.
Gary Trent Jr. led all players with 24 points and 3 steals. He was 5 of 7 from three and scored the teams final 4 points to close out the game. It was a “collective effort”, he said of the win. All 5 of Toronto’s starters scored 12+ points, with 3 notching double doubles: Fred VanVleet had 17 points and 11 assists, Pascal Siakam finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds, while Scottie Barnes added 12 points and grabbed 15 boards.
Despite shooting 34% on the night, it was the Raptors defence that helped secure the victory. They limited New York to 87 points and forced 13 turnovers. Toronto had 7 blocks and 9 steals, which led to 17 points off turnovers.
Canadian RJ Barrett led New York with 19 points in 29 minutes. The Raptors held Julius Randle to 13 points – 6 under his season average. With their starters struggling, the Knicks bench dominated Toronto’s second unit. Led by Obi Toppin’s career-high 19 points and 10 rebounds, they outscored the Raptors bench 39-10.
In their losses at home, the bench has struggled. They’ve lacked stability and consistency. Since the start of the season, the team has played through injuries; Nick Nurse hasn’t had the opportunity to consistently set his lineups. It’s a rotation that will likely stay inconsistent until the team is healthy.
After the game, VanVleet spoke of the teams up and down shooting, joking the offence was going to be an adventure this season. Though team is going through a learning curb, everyone seems intent on keeping their head down, committing to the process, making adjustments and allowing things to come together.
In other news: Superfan Nav Bhatia missed his first ever home again on Friday, due to health and safety protocols. He was at attendance at Masai Ujiri’s Giants of Africa gala, where some of the guests, including Ujiri, tested positive for COVID-19. This was the first gala Ujiri has hosted since 2019.
NEXT: Toronto closes out their home stand on Monday against the 11-15 Sacramento Kings. Tip-off is 7pm on TSN4/TSN5.