Make that a 2-0 to start the road trip.
Following a historic win over the Orlando Magic, the Toronto Raptors defeated the Brooklyn Nets behind big performances from Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam. Whereas Lowry scored a season-high 30 points to go along with seven assists, Siakam scored a season-high 33 points to go along with 11 rebounds, six assists and three steals.
Siakam has now scored 30 or more points in three of his last four games.
Norman Powell provided a scoring punch with 18 points starting in place of OG Anunoby while Chris Boucher came close to a double-double off the bench with 17 points and nine rebounds.
James Harden dished out a game-high 12 assists, but the Raptors limited him to 17 points on 4-for-8 shooting from the field. Kyrie Irving, meanwhile, finished with 15 points on 6-for-12 shooting from the field and had more turnovers (7) than assists (5).
For more on the game, some takeaways...
1. Kevin Durant leaves early
Durant didn't start the game due to Health and Safety protocols. It was unknown if he would be eligible to play at the time - ESPN's Malika Andrews reported that his absence was related to contact tracing - but he was made available near the end of the first quarter.
Durant was then removed from the game early in the third quarter due to Health and Safety protocols.
This appears to be the moment KD learned he would be out the rest of the game due to health and safety protocols. pic.twitter.com/KGJan8mFNr- SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 6, 2021
According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Durant is unlikely to travel with the Nets to Philadelphia for their game against the 76ers on Saturday.
2. Not in Chris Boucher's house
Boucher has now blocked 11 3-pointers on the season, extending his lead over Detroit Pistons forward Jerami Grant (7) for most in the league.
That's vintage @chrisboucher pic.twitter.com/suUXNunHe8- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) February 6, 2021
That was one of two blocks Boucher recorded in the first half, the second coming against Landry Shamet at the rim.
THAT'S JUST MEAN, @chrisboucher pic.twitter.com/TUFmlRTfJR- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) February 6, 2021
That is mean.
3. All-Stars doing work
It was Powell who got the Raptors started with 10 points in the opening period, but it was the Lowry and Siakam show from that point forward.
In the second quarter, Lowry led the Raptors by scoring 10 of the team's 33 points. In the third quarter, it was Siakam who took over with 15 of the team's 25 points. The two then took turns in the fourth quarter.
There was one stretch in the final period where Lowry scored eight straight points to tie the game up and give the Raptors the lead.
Kyle Lowry = #NBAAllStar- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) February 6, 2021
⭐️ 1 RT = 1 Vote ⭐️ pic.twitter.com/R3fVdXQ6nu
Siakam then sealed the deal with a big block on Bruce Brown, followed by four points in the closing minute.
CLEAN@pskills43 | #NBAAllStar pic.twitter.com/hjkbaeFhGI- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) February 6, 2021
In the end, Lowry and Siakam combined for 63 points, 16 rebounds and 13 assists. A dominant performance from Toronto's All-Stars.
4. You can always count on Fred
It was a rough game for Fred VanVleet ... but he still showed up when the Raptors needed him.
VanVleet made one of the biggest shots of the game, draining a 3-pointer over Irving that put the Raptors up by six points with 1:46 to go in the fourth quarter.
COLD BLOODED @FredVanVleet | #NBAAllStar- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) February 6, 2021
⭐️ 1 RT = 1 Vote ⭐️ pic.twitter.com/Uq3udroxJP
VanVleet had missed eight straight 3-pointers to that point of the game. A big-time shot from a big-time player.
5. The battle over the paint
The Raptors scored 64 of their 123 points in the paint. According to NBA.com, that marks a season-high for Toronto.
Siakam played a big role in that, as 10 of his 12 field goals came in the painted area.
It helps that the Nets haven't been particularly good at protecting the paint this season. According to NBA.com, they entered this game giving up an average of 50.6 points per game in the paint. The only teams giving up more? The Sacramento Kings (51.9) and the Minnesota Timberwolves (51.5).
On the other end, the Raptors limited the Nets to 40 points in the paint. That's tied for the sixth-fewest points the Nets have scored in the paint this season.
6. Joe Harris continues to shoot the lights out
Harris was Brooklyn's leading scorer with 19 points on 6-for-9 shooting from the field and 5-for-8 shooting from 3-point range.
JOEY 🪣🪣🪣 pic.twitter.com/PudzIrNcfF- Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) February 6, 2021
Harris has long been one of the league's best 3-point shooters - he led the NBA in 3-point percentage in 2018-19 - but he's taken his game to another level since the Nets acquired Harden. Not only has he made close to half of his 3-point attempts during this stretch, his volume has spiked, from 5.8 3-point attempts per game prior to the trade to 8.2 3-point attempts per game since.
That's a big development for the Nets.
7. What's next
The Raptors are back in action on Saturday when they take on the Atlanta Hawks. The game begins at 8:00 p.m. ET on TSN 1/3/4.
OG Anunoby (left calf strain) has already been ruled out for the Raptors while Trae Young (right calf contusion) is listed as questionable for the Hawks. Additionally, Atlanta will be without Bogdan Bogdanovic (right knee avulsion fracture), Kris Dunn (right ankle surgery) and De'Andre Hunter (right knee discomfort).
Following Friday's win, the Raptors are 10-12 on the season, giving them the same record as the Hawks (10-12).
It should be a good one. Catch you then.
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