Raptors Survive Nuggets’ Second Half Outburst to Win 105-102

Oct 31, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan (10) goes up for a rebound against the Denver Nuggets in the first half at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 31, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan (10) goes up for a rebound against the Denver Nuggets in the first half at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports /

Thanks to clutch shooting in the final minute of the game, the Toronto Raptors managed to survive a near-collapse against the Denver Nuggets and hold on for a 105-102 victory.


Thoughts and Observations

  • It’s happeningJonas Valanciunas is actually a major spoke in the Raptors offence. JV’s performances in the past two game, combined with the post touches he received in this game have affirmed it. Valanciunas had the first three attempts in this game and the team (especially Kyle Lowry) would actually feed him in the post.
  • Pascal Siakam

    is a ghost. Opposing teams really make you prove to them that you have to be guarded, especially if you’re a rookie. The Nuggets left Siakam alone all game and he couldn’t punish them at all for it. Siakam’s jumper is non-existent, he’s not a threat off the dribble and his opponents know it.

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  • Wasn’t Norman Powell an important rotational piece for the Raptors last year? He only got two minutes at the end of the second quarter and that’s it. He did end the night with a 100% field goal percentage though… on 1 of 1 shooting.
  • Lucas Nogueria may be out of the rotation for good. Dwane Casey doesn’t know when Nogueria will be back and if his shootaround scrum was any indication, he doesn’t care. This team is still about winning, and Nogueria isn’t an indispensable piece, When he was around, the back up centre position was still up for grabs. Now he’s gone, Jakob Poeltl has stepped up, and BeBe may be looking at another year bouncing between the NBA and the D-league.
  • Raptors
    Oct 31, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (27) has his shot blocked by Toronto Raptors center Jakob Poeltl (42) in the second half at Air Canada Centre.The Raptors won 105-102. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports /
    • Verticality, pioneered by Indiana Pacers’ great Roy Hibbert, is a fickle beast that Patrick Patterson has seemingly mastered. Quietly registering five blocks in this game, he’s stopping people at the rim Hibbert-style, utilizing his wingspan. You would think it would be easy to get around someone who can only just jump up with both arms straight up.
    • The Raptors’ pick n’ roll defense was very suspect. The third quarter was a travesty, yielding open drives to the rim and quasi open mid rangers. JV and Poeltl had to drop back to contain the drives, but were left in flash one versus one’s against guards with a straight line to the rim.
    • Cory Joseph‘s shot selection is starting to deteriorate. Precision and the smart play is CoJo’s calling card, he shouldn’t lose it. Too many shots where he takes contact and throws up something semi-wild and too many shots where he ends up on the floor, have hindered his point production and efficiency.
    • Mike Miller and Lowry still have a secret handshake from back in their Grizzlies days.

    RBX (Raptors Bandwagon Exchange)

    Buy: If someone out there is still selling Poeltl stock buy them out, because he’s a rookie with a purpose. Since Siakam is a forward in Casey’s system, there’s only one other true centre available on the roster and he’s making an impression. Nogueria has been part of the roster longer, but he’s injured and Casey hasn’t shown affinity for him anyway. Every time Poeltl graces the floor, he gets better and the season has only just begun. Invest now people!

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    Don’t be afraid to soak up any Powell shares. He’s buried on the bench, inexplicably, but he’s due for a breakout game. When the Raptors visit John Wall and co. on Wednesday night, they can use extra guards in the rotation.

    Sell: Sell Siakam shares. Public perception is that he’s playing great in the starting lineup, but he’s merely surviving. The starting lineup is basically playing 4 vs 5 when he’s on the floor, as he doesn’t do anything other than finish around the rim and rebound. At the 5 that doesn’t hurt. because that’s all the Raptors need, but at the 4 Siakam is condensing the floor, making it harder for anyone else to score. The wheels are subtly falling off the bandwagon.

    Statline of the Night

    3 points-7 rebounds-3 assists-5 blocks

    If you can’t score, there are still ways to contribute to winning. Patterson only attempted four shots the entire 33 minutes, but played a pivotal role in the Raptors’ victory. His three-point threat is still part of his offensive game, even though he hasn’t been able to hit it yet this season.

    That three-point shooting takes away from his ability on defence, where he’s able to use his speed and wingspan to trouble opponents at the rim. The five blocks varied from Hibbert-esque to quick stuffs beneath the rim, flashing Patterson’s versatility. Most teams play mobile 4’s, but Denver’s Jusuf Nurkic/Nikola Jokic front line permitted Patterson to play closer to the rim and protect it.

    What’s Next

    The Raptors visit the Washington Wizards at the Verizon centre, where the ‘Zards are craving a win. The team has started 0-2, with their latest loss being a crushing defeat against the Memphis Grizzlies, where Marc Gasol splashed home a three to send the game into overtime. They’re already considering this clash with the Raptors as a must win game.

    The Wizards are reeling, but that doesn’t mean they can’t still throw hay makers. Wall and Bradley Beal remain one of the NBA’s most dynamic backcourt duo, so it’s going to be interesting to see how they measure up against the Raptors’ All-Stars.

    It’s going to be the Wizards home opener and they need this game. Expect the home crowd to be loud and their guard play to be even louder.

    Next: Fresh 24- The Kyle Lowry decoy play

    What did you think of the Toronto Raptors 105-102 victory against the Denver Nuggets? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.