Quick Reaction: Raptors 117, Suns 112


P. Siakam41 MIN, 25 PTS, 7 REB, 10 AST, 1 STL, 10-24 FG, 2-5 3FG, 3-4 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, +16 +/-

Despite the touch lacking a smidge and a lot of his pet plays being less potent with Fred’s struggles, he made it work. He was the playmaker, Gary the finisher, and they cobbled together enough offense to beat the Suns. Really strong performance, and his versatility on defense was a really big deal. Very nice game.


S. Barnes37 MIN, 15 PTS, 6 REB, 1 AST, 5 STL, 7-17 FG, 1-3 3FG, 0-0 FT, 2 BLK, 2 TO, -16 +/-

Got saddled with lineups that he couldn’t lift out of mediocrity, but had big steals late and provided just enough of an offensive punch to validate his spot out on the floor. An inconsistent, but okay game.


K.Birch26 MIN, 4 PTS, 6 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 2-4 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, +9 +/-

Found him to be really underwhelming until his very last stint, which was great. Was crisp on the doubles, helped on the glass, and got the tip on Trent Jr.’s blown layup in transition. A great close does a lot for a person.


F.VanVleet38 MIN, 12 PTS, 8 REB, 4 AST, 0 STL, 3-11 FG, 2-8 3FG, 4-4 FT, 1 BLK, 5 TO, -4 +/-

The Suns are terrific in ball pressure and their wings come over to complicate any guards offensive possessions. Fred didn’t break through the pressure and dominate, and he wasn’t his sharpest on the defensive end, but he brought just enough in this one. He’ll be better going forward.


G.Trent Jr.40 MIN, 42 PTS, 8 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 13-21 FG, 8-11 3FG, 8-8 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, +20 +/-

40-burger. Some standstill 3-pointers fell in, and then the pull-ups came after. Found such a nice spot in the Raptors game plan tonight, and pulled his weight and more in the shot-making department. Slump buster? I hope so, and think so. Great game.


T. Young19 MIN, 5 PTS, 3 REB, 1 AST, 2 STL, 2-5 FG, 0-1 3FG, 1-1 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -16 +/-

Got thoroughly dominated late, even though Nurse gave him the nod to try it out. Had a nice bucket over a mismatch, but most of this game went poorly for him. Tough matchup, but them the breaks.


C. Boucher12 MIN, 4 PTS, 3 REB, 0 AST, 1 STL, 2-4 FG, 0-2 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 1 TO, +8 +/-

Don’t see the reason to play Thaddeus over him. Boucher was once again good in his minutes, and even though the 3’s didn’t drop in he’s a positive. There’s not much runway in this one, so no sweeping declarations, but Thad should have to prove more in a Raptors jersey to garner the minutes he’s taking away from Boucher.


P.Achiuwa16 MIN, 11 PTS, 7 REB, 0 AST, 1 STL, 3-8 FG, 1-2 3FG, 4-4 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, +6 +/-

I was genuinely surprised that he didn’t get the nod down the stretch. But, Birch did his thing so I digress. He was really fun in this game, though. He got blocked at the rim a few times, yes, but another very positive defensive performance. Blew up a lot of the Suns pick n’ roll actions as soon as he stepped in the game.


D.Banton10 MIN, 1 PTS, 0 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 0-0 FG, 0-0 3FG, 1-2 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, +2 +/-

A ho-hum game. But his box score numbers are typically dependent on how much transition comes his way. The defense was fine.


Nick Nurse

Birch was obviously the right call down the stretch. The calls for the blitzing at the end was great, and it came after they tried box-and-1 and triangle-and-2. A good coach tries stuff, and a better coach finds it. Well done.

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