Toronto Raptors

Nine thoughts as Raptors take down Knicks behind career-high 36 points for OG Anunoby

What a performance from the Toronto Raptors at Madison Square Garden.

Trailing big in the first half, the Raptors leaned on some spectacular offensive performances and trademark defence to dominate the Knicks in the second half.

The 113-104 win improves Toronto to 5-3 on the season and gives them an early scalp on the road against an expected playoff team.

Let's jump to some thoughts from a fun night at the World's most famous arena.

1. OG delivers MSG performance to remember

Without sensational rookie Scottie Barnes in the lineup, OG Anunoby had to step up.

The 24-year-old did more than that, he dominated the night at Madison Square Garden, silencing the home crowd with 36 points, six rebounds, two assists and a steal.

"He works hard at his game so this is no surprise," Gary Trent Jr. said postgame. "Every move you saw today, he always does that. He's a great player a terrific player. He set the tone for us to win today."

Anunoby had 10 points in the first quarter and never looked back, scoring from all three levels in accumulating the career-high point total.

Along with the points, Anunoby took a season-high 27 field goal attempts and another season-high in seven free-throws. Even when Barnes does return to the lineup, the Raptors need this aggressive version of Anunoby moving forward.

2. Trent Jr. sparks turnaround

"We just had fight. The team stayed together, we worked hard. Stay together, stay as a unit and we feel like we can't lose."

That's how Trent Jr. explained the Raptors fight back from 15 points down during the second quarter.

The versatile wing was a massive part of the turnaround, with impact plays on both ends of the floor. He finished with 26 points, whiile also picking up four steals on the defensive end which leads me to the next point...

3. Turnover game once again the key

For much of the last two and a half quarters the Raptors simply played harder than the Knicks.

The Raptors offence is still working itself out in the early part of the season but they have already established an ability to dictate terms on the other end of the floor.

They led the steal count 12-3 and points off turnovers 20-13.

Playing with this level of intensity throughout the course of a regular season is going to be utterly exhausting for this squad, but for now at least they seem to have bought in.

4. Mykhailiuk moves into the starting lineup

Svi Mykhailiuk moved into the starting lineup to replace Barnes and put together a solid night.

15 points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals was the final tally for Mykhailiuk, with some crucial buckets in the second half including a big dunk and an important long range ball helping the Raptors maintain their lead.

There's been much discussion around the Raptors rotation of late, but Svi playing 35 minutes while Goran Dragic picked up another DNP-CD is telling.

5. Barnes sits out

Barnes missed the game in New York with a thumb injury.

X-rays have come back negative and it would make sense for the Raptors to take a cautious approach with the rising talent. Barnes has made the Raptors must watch early in the season so let's hope for a quick recovery.

Keep up to date on the latest with Barnes here.

6. Precious in a rough patch

It's been a tough stretch of games for Precious Achiuwa. The young big played just 17 minutes in his starting role, finishing with two points and nine rebounds on 1-for-9 shooting.

Achiuwa made a notable impact early in the season but appears to be slumping in confidence, with a number of close scoring opportunities failing to drop.

It will be interesting to see if Nurse moves Khem Birch into the starting five. Birch played 31 minutes against the Knicks, tallying six points, eight rebounds, three assists, two steals and one block.

7. Barrett's big night

RJ Barrett was a rare shining light for the Knicks tonight, finishing with 27 points on just 13 shots while also reeling in six rebounds.

After the Raptors took hold, the young Canadian felt like the only player on the Knicks roster who could keep the scoreboard ticking along for the home team.

Barrett led all scorers for the Knicks, with Julius Randle held to 22 points after have 18 in the first quarter.

8. Social media team with the big W


9. What's next?

The Raps continue their road trip with a visit to the surprising Washington Wizards.

The Wizards are 5-2 on the season, with their balanced roster impressing in the opening weeks of the regular season. Tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday night.

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