The Toronto Raptors got back in the win column on Saturday with a 110-102 victory over the Brooklyn Nets.
Pascal Siakam's strong first half and the team's nine made 3-pointers in the first quarter got things started out right. Another big game from Norman Powell and a pair of double-doubles from Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka helped seal the win.
For more on Toronto's bounce-back win over the Nets, here are 10 thoughts on the game...
1. The Raptors made more 3-pointers in the first quarter than they did in each of their last two games.
The Raptors came out gunning in this one, knocking down nine 3s in the first quarter, falling one make shy of tying the franchise record for 3-pointers in a quarter.
They shot a blistering 9-for-12 (75.0%) from 3-point range in the first frame to combat a 12-2 run from the Nets to start the game.
The @Raptors hit 9 THREES in the 1st QTR 😱#WeTheNorth pic.twitter.com/lhhG3F6PH3- NBA TV (@NBATV) December 15, 2019
Toronto only made eight 3s in their last game against the LA Clippers. Before that, they only made seven 3s in their game against the Chicago Bulls.
2. The Raptors are better when they make 3s.
Yes, this is a safe take. But it's also true!
Toronto shot 40.2% from 3-point range over their first 19 games of the season when they started out 15-4. In their rough stretch over the last five games, where they were 1-4, they shot 27.2% from distance.
After shooting 11-for-23 (47.8%) from three in the first half, the Raptors cooled off a bit in the second half. They shot 3-for-17 (17.7%) from deep in the final two quarters, but their first quarter outburst was enough to carry them through the second half, finishing the contest shooting 35.0%.
3. Pascal Siakam scored more points in the first half than he had in each of the last five games.
Pascal Siakam had it going early on in this one.
After failing to eclipse the 25-point mark in any of the Raptors' last five games, Siakam got back to his ways with 25 points in the first half.
Spicy P dropped 25 points in the first half 🌶#WeTheNorth pic.twitter.com/Lj8qaKRInp- NBA TV (@NBATV) December 15, 2019
He was an efficient 8-for-14 from the field and was a beneficiary of the team's red hot 3-point shooting, going 3-for-5 from beyond the arc himself. He also added three boards and three assists to put his team in a good spot heading into the second half.
4. A tale of two halves from Pascal Siakam.
The Raptors' go-to guy couldn't carry his hot start into the second half, however, as he scored just five points on 2-for-12 shooting from the field in the final two quarters.
He did grab another seven boards to go with two assists, two steals and a block, though. Siakam finished with a quality stat line that would make you think he's trending back in the right direction.
Siakam stuffed the stat sheet with a team-high 30 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, three steals and three blocks but shot 10-for-26 (38.5%) from the field.
5. Is Spencer Dinwiddie the All-Star on the Brooklyn Nets?
Kyrie Irving got out to a roaring start in his first handful of games with the Nets before suffering a shoulder injury that has sidelined him since the middle of November.
Since his injury, Spencer Dinwiddie has filled in as the team's premier player, averaging 23.8 points, 7.5 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game.
He kept that strong play going in this one, scoring 24 points to go with eight assists, two rebounds, a steal and a block.
The Nets couldn't come away with the win but they are still a solid 9-5 with Dinwiddie leading the way, raising the question - is he more deserving than Irving to make the All-Star team?
6. Marc Gasol has been fantastic.
Even through Toronto's struggles the past five games, Marc Gasol had been great.
That trend continued in this contest, as the Raptors' big man notched a season-high in both points and rebounds en route to his third double-double of the season.
He finished with 17 points, 15 rebounds, two assists, two blocks and one steal, going 6-for-11 (54.5%) from the field and 3-for-5 (60.0%) from three.
7. This was the first time Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka had a double-double in the same game.
You would have assumed that at some point during half of a season and a successful run in the playoffs last year that Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka would have notched a double-double in the same game.
Especially with how often head coach Nick Nurse splits their minutes, there's plenty of scoring and rebounding opportunities to go around.
Well, for the first time tonight, the Raptors' two centres achieved that feat.
To go with Gasol's 17 points and 15 rebounds, Ibaka went for 12 points and 12 rebounds in 21 valuable minutes off the bench.
8. Norman Powell has also been great.
With Fred VanVleet out of the lineup, Norman Powell has filled in as the starting shooting guard and he stepped up once again on Saturday just like he did when Kyle Lowry was out.
He had 25 points in this one, shooting 10-for-15 (66.7%) from the field and 5-for-7 (71.4%) from 3-point range. He also capped the game off with this electric fast break windmill:
SHOWTIME POWELL pic.twitter.com/mlr7SJxK3o- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) December 15, 2019
In his last three games as a starter filling in for VanVleet, Powell is averaging 21.3 points on 57.1% shooting from the field and 44.4% from three.
It has to feel great for head coach Nick Nurse to know that when players like VanVleet or Lowry are forced to miss time with injuries, he has another player he can slide into the starting lineup without any second thought.
9. Raptors snap three-game home losing streak.
After starting the season a franchise-record 9-0 at Scotiabank Arena, the Raptors lost three-consecutive games on their home floor for the first time since the 2015-16 season.
They snapped that streak tonight with the win over the Nets to advance to 10-3 at home.
In this win against an Atlantic Division foe, they also extended their NBA record home winning streak versus their division with 34-straight wins.
10. What's next for the Raptors?
Toronto is now 17-8 on the season, sitting firmly in the No. 5 spot in the Eastern Conference.
They have one day off before hosting the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday.
The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.