In their 2nd road game of their 4-game west coast swing, the Toronto Raptors faced off against the Sacramento Kings. It wasn’t a pretty first twelve minutes, but a resilient Raptors team clawed their way back to a record setting 144-123 win.
Building off their play against Phoenix on Wednesday, Toronto had their best shooting night of the 2020-2021 season. Without Kyle Lowry (due to personal reasons), the team was led by Fred VanVleet. Like Lowry before him, VanVleet has seemingly stepped into the role of leader for this young team. After a disastrous 1st quarter, where the Raptors gave up 43 points on 82% shooting, something changed. In his post-game interview Nick Nurse spoke of VanVleet’s leadership in the huddle. “[He] was kinda pissed and was letting them know about it”.
Toronto outscored Sacramento in the final 3 quarters to come back from a 19-point deficit. VanVleet led all players with 34 points and went 55.6% from three. He scored 16 of his 34 points in the 3rd to help secure a Toronto lead, and the team never looked back.
For the second time this season, Norman Powell replaced Kyle Lowry in the starting line up. He put up 22 points on 6 of 8 shooting and is averaging 19.5 points in his 2 starts. Pascal Siakam is looking more like the Spicy P fans have seen in previous years. He went 7 of 11, scoring 17 points with a career-high 12 assists. He attacked on both ends of the floor and was 1 rebound shy of grabbing his first career triple-double.
With another solid start for the starters, all eyes were on the bench. After being called out by Nurse, they exploded for 63 points, outscoring the Kings bench +24. Chris Boucher continues to be the only big producing for Toronto. He had 23 points and 10 rebounds in 29 minutes. Terrence Davis and Malachi Flynn both had breakout games; they put up 18 and 12 points in solid minutes. It has been a tough start for the rookie Flynn, who had averaged 2.4 points in his last 5 games.
The starting centre position continues to lack production. Aron Baynes was out and replaced with Alex Len. It was a short stint for Len, who put up 0 points and had 0 rebounds.
Game Notes: Toronto grabbed 44 rebounds and were +9 on the offensive boards. Despite shooting a blistering 51% from deep, the also converted 62 points in the paint in Friday’s win.
Next up.. Toronto visits a red hot Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors. Tip off is 8:30pm at Chase Center.