Toronto Raptors

Nine thoughts: Raptors fade in second half as Mavericks secure first win of the season

Following their impressive win over the Boston Celtics just 24 hours earlier, the Toronto Raptors faded on the second night of a back-to-back, going down 103-95 to the Dallas Mavericks at Scotiabank Arena.

All five starters scored in double figures led by 23 points from OG Anunoby and 20 from Fred VanVleet, while rookie Scottie Barnes chipped in 17 points and eight rebounds.

Luka Doncic and Tim Hardaway Jr. came alive in the second half, combining for 38 of the Mavericks 58 points to pick up their first win of the season.

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For more on this game, we have you covered with some thoughts below.

1. A game of two halves for Anunoby

OG Anunoby came into tonight's contest shooting 7-of-35 from the field and 2-of-14 from the 3-point line on the season and he started the game with a bang, scoring 20 of his 23 points in the first half to give the Raptors a 51-45 lead at the break.

Check out his first-half shot chart below:

Attacking the rim and finishing inside, while knocking down three of his four attempts from the 3-point line, the Raptors forward was on fire, going 8-of-10 from the field, but foul trouble slowed him down as he picked up his fifth with 2:20 remaining in the third quarter.

He would only score one more bucket for the game with a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter, going 1-of-5 in the final 24 minutes.

2. Scottie Barnes gives Raptors a spark

When the game looked over, Barnes refused to give in, making things interesting down the stretch with a few eye-catching plays.

With 2:30 remaining in the fourth, he took it straight to the tin for the two-handed jam to cut it two 10 and quickly followed it up, converting an and-1 to get it to line.

His energy and competitiveness have already been a real bright spot for the Raptors through their first three games and although Doncic ended up finding his rhythm, Barnes did a solid job containing him, especially in the first half.

Encouraging signs from the No. 4 overall pick.

3. Second unit struggles

Just 24 hours after their impressive home win over the Boston Celtics, the Raptors needed more from their bench tonight,

They combined for just 13 points tonight, with Svi Mykhailiuk scoring seven points, Khem Birch four points and Goran Dragic two.

On the second night of a back-to-back and with three starters battling foul trouble, the lack of bench scoring compounded things for the Raptors.

4. Foul trouble

The Raptors looked like a different team in the second half, playing their second game in 24 hours and while their ball movement and shooting slowed down in the second half, some lazy fouls really hurt them in the game's pivotal moments as momentum began to swing Dallas' way in the third quarter.

By the start of the fourth quarter, three of their key guys were all battling foul trouble, with Anunoby (5), VanVleet (4), Barnes (4) hampered.

5. Precious and Fred building chemistry

The combination of Fred VanVleet and Precious Achiuwa is slowly starting to come together for the Raptors.

While they had a few miscommunications in the paint, VanVleet is doing a great job looking for the big man with entry passes and lobs and they had the crowd hyped at the end of the third quarter, connecting on this highlight-reel alley-oop jam.

The signs of a promising partnership are there for the point guard-center combo, with Achiuwa running the floor and reaping the rewards.

6. This dime from Precious Achiuwa

Speaking of Precious and Fred.....

As each game passes, we see a little bit more of Precious Achiuwa's game unfold and in the third quarter, he pulled off this impressive nutmeg assist to VanVleet.

7. Mavs abandon mid-range

Through the first six quarters of their season, the Mavericks offence has looked stagnant, too often settling for mid-range jumpers, but in the second half of tonight's win, it was a different story as Tim Hardaway Jr. and Luka Doncic seized control of the game, combining for 38 points in the second half.

Hardaway Jr. swung the game in their favour with a barrage of 3-pointers, connecting on 6-of-7 from beyond the arc, while Doncic knocked down two of his six attempts.

After connecting on just 4-of-17 from three in the first half, the Mavs connected on 10 of 25 from beyond the arc in the second half.

Hardaway Jr. finished with 25 points -22 of which came in the second half - on 9-of-16 from the field and 7-of11 from deep, while Doncic stuffed the stat sheet with 27 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds

8. OK Boucher!

Early in the second quarter, Chris Boucher was all hustle after air balling a corner three. As Nick Nurse screamed from the sidelines, the Canadian raced back down the floor to erase Sterling Brown's shot from beyond the arc.

You love to see it.

9. What's next?

The Raptors are back in action on Monday at Scotiabank Arena, welcoming former Raptor DeMar DeRozan and the unbeaten Chicago Bulls from 8:30 p.m. ET.

See you then!

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