No Kyle Lowry, no Fred VanVleet, no Pascal Siakam, no problem.
The shorthanded Toronto Raptors cruised past the Cleveland Cavaliers behind a franchise record-setting first half, a career-high in scoring from Gary Trent Jr. and the best game of rookie guard Malachi Flynn's young career.
If you missed any of the action, we have some thoughts on the game below.
1. Scorching hot start for Raptors
You can't get out to a better start than the Raptors did in this one. They started the game with 12 consecutive makes from the field to jump out to a 32-16 lead and never looked back.
The @Raptors go 12 for 12 from the field to open up action in Cleveland! 👏- NBA (@NBA) April 11, 2021
📱💻: https://t.co/34MvdivBto pic.twitter.com/3JwFeQjdtY
They would go on to score a season-best 47 points in the first quarter while shooting a lights-out 17-for-20 (85.0%) from the field, capped off with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Yuta Watanabe.
.@wacchi1013 at the buzzer... BANG! pic.twitter.com/D5VDFt8RiE- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) April 11, 2021
2. And they didn't cool off in the second quarter either
The first quarter break couldn't slow down Toronto, who would go on to set a new franchise-record for points in a half with 87.
Gary Trent Jr. was unconcious shooting the basketball, scoring 25 points by halftime with only one missed shot attempt (9-10 FG, 5-6 3PT).
.@gtrentjr COOKIN' pic.twitter.com/X0BCfNYG23- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) April 11, 2021
OG Anunoby joined him in that aspect, only missing one shot on his way to 15 points at the half. DeAndre' Bembry was the other Raptor player in double figures with 11 points while shooting a perfect 4-for-4 from the field.
As a team, Toronto shot 32-for-45 (71.1%) from the field and 13-for-20 (65.0%) from beyond the arc.
3. Another career-high for Gary Trent Jr.
In his fourth game with the Raptors, newly acquired Trent erupted for a career-high 31 points against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
In his ninth game with the Raptors, Trent only needed two and a half quarters to tie his career-high 31 points.
The 22-year-old sniper was on fire in this one, making his first five shot attempts of the game. He tallied 25 points by halftime with only one missed shot attempt, and then came out of the break and buried his first two 3-point attempts to match his former career-high.
He would go the entire contest without losing the magic touch. Trent would finish with a career-best 44 points while shooting a remarkable 17-for-19 (89.5%) from the field and 7-for-9 (77.8%) from 3-point range.
Watch ALL of Gary Trent Jr's BUCKETS as he drops a CAREER-HIGH 44 PTS while shooting 90% (17-19) from the field in the @Raptors win! #WeTheNorth pic.twitter.com/wMWkQn83Si- NBA Canada (@NBACanada) April 11, 2021
With this efficient shooting night, Trent joined Giannis Antetokounmpo and Klay Thompson as the only players to score 40-plus points on 85 percent shooting since 2010.
Gary Trent Jr. tonight:- StatMuse (@statmuse) April 11, 2021
44 PTS (career-high)
He joins Giannis Antetokounmpo and Klay Thompson as the only players with a 40-point game on 85% shooting since 2010. pic.twitter.com/1tsQ7wUbCS
4. And a career night for Malachi Flynn, too
With Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet sidelined due to injuries, rookie first-round pick Flynn has assumed floor general duties over the last few contests. The 22-year-old guard has put forth a handful of solid performances in a row, giving the Raptors a little bit of everything in their time of need.
Averaging 13.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 2.5 steals and 1.0 blocks over that four-game stretch, Flynn is really starting to look comfortable on the NBA floor.
One game after dropping a career-best eight assists, Flynn followed that up by posting the first double-double of his career with 20 points and 11 assists. Shooting 8-for-14 from the field and 2-for-3 from 3, it was one of the most efficient scoring performances of Flynn's career as well.
Sheeeeeesssh that's cold, @malachiflynn pic.twitter.com/ChdEsLYAoT- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) April 10, 2021
5. The Collin Sexton and Darius Garland duo shows out
Both Sexton and Garland had their naysayers after their respective rookie seasons but the tandem is looking more and more like a promising young backcourt in this league.
In a game where nothing was working in Cleveland's favour through the first two quarters, this fiery duo kept the foot on the gas to try and work their team back into this contest.
Trailing by 33 at halftime, Sexton came out and dropped 14 points in the third quarter to give the Cavaliers some life. To match his intensity, Garland scored eight points and dished out three assists as Cleveland worked its way back into the game.
The comeback would come up well short, but Sexton would finish with 29 points and five assists while shooting 10-for-20 from the field.
Unfortunately for Garland, the 21-year-old guard left the game in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury and would not return. He still finished with 19 points, eight assists, two rebounds and two steals.
Made ya look 😮 pic.twitter.com/mkIX5aPAkG- Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) April 10, 2021
6. Freddie Gillespie's debut
The Raptors signed Gillespie, a 6-foot-9 forward, to a 10-day contract in an attempt to add some much-needed frontcourt depth. While players signed to 10-day contracts don't always get a fair shake at playing time, Toronto playing severely shorthanded paved the way for Gillespie to play in his first eligible game with his new team.
The 23-year-old undrafted rookie played 18 minutes in his debut and brought great energy to the floor. He would score six points to go with four rebounds, three steals, one block and one assist to make his impact felt.
YOUNG FELLA OUT HERE GRINDING@freddieg_33 | #WeTheNorth pic.twitter.com/7Iijm4TziA- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) April 11, 2021
7. What's next?
The Raptors won't have any break as they hit the road to take on the New York Knicks on Sunday. The Cavaliers also have a back-to-back, hosting the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday as well.
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