1) Pacing the Raptors past Indiana
In total, Valanciunas has played 43 playoff games so far in his career. This includes 29 games of 10+ points, 19 contests with 10+ boards and 17 double-doubles.
As such, there are a lot of postseason highlights to pick from. However, if push comes to shove, we would go with the 2015-16 first round series against the Pacers as the best of Valanciunas’ playoff career so far.
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In theory, the series against the Pacers shouldn’t have gone to seven games, with the Raptors being the stronger team and holding home court advantage. However, the Pacers pushed them to the limit, making Valanciunas’ contributions even more valuable.
The four-time Lithuanian Player of the Year came out on fire, setting a new playoff franchise high of 19 rebounds in Game 1. He followed this up with a new personal postseason high of 23 points in Game 2. (He has since surpassed both marks.)
Valanciunas’ influence dropped slightly during the remainder of the series. However, this was in part due to the Pacers focusing on him more; as the ultimate teammate he didn’t mind, with it giving other players the opportunity to shine.
Regardless, Valanciunas still finished the series with impressive numbers, as the Raptors advanced. He averaged 13.6 points and 11.9 rebounds, had three double-doubles and made the most of his trips to the charity stripe, with a .808 free three percentage.
What is your own personal number one highlight from Valanciunas’ career with the Toronto Raptors? Do you agree with the decision to trade him or not, and why? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.