The Toronto Raptors closed their Western Conference road trip with a tough loss to the Dallas Mavericks.
The Mavericks defeated the Raptors 110-102, holding off a late fourth quarter push from Toronto.
Luka Doncic finished the game with an impressive double-double of 26 points and 15 rebounds while his partner Kristaps Porzingis posted a similar line of 20 points and 15 rebounds. The Raptors couldn't overcome a tough game from Pascal Siakam, who scored just 15 points shooting 6-for-24 from the field.
Toronto finished the road trip going 3-2, with an overall record of 8-4. With the win, the Mavericks advance to 7-5 on the season.
For more on this close contest in Dallas, we have you covered with takeaways below.
OG Anunoby suffered an eye contusion after being poked in the eye in the first minute of the Raptors loss to the Clippers earlier this week. He missed one game after that - a win over the Portland Trail Blazers - and returned to action in this contest against the Mavericks.
Still without Kyle Lowry (thumb) and Serge Ibaka (ankle), Toronto needs every bit of help they can get. Being able to insert Anunoby back into the starting lineup was helpful in this game in particular, as he stepped up to the task in trying to check 20-year-old sensation Luka Doncic.
He didn't take on the challenge alone, as Rondae Hollis-Jefferson played his particular role as a defensive specialist, but they did do a good job of making things tough for Doncic even though he still finished with a decent stat line. Luka ended with 26 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists but shot 5-for-14 from the field and 1-for-5 from 3-point range, doing the majority of his damage from the free throw line (15-19 FT).
It wasn't Anunoby's best game, only scoring eight points to go with five rebounds in 32 minutes and a +/- of minus-12 but it's vital that he is back in action to give the Raptors another consistent presence in their lineup while this team tries to stay afloat without two key rotational players.
Raptors offence goes stagnant in second half
The Raptors used a huge second quarter on both ends of the floor to turn their 10-point deficit in the first quarter into a seven-point lead heading into the half.
Toronto outscored Dallas 38-21 in the second frame, holding the Mavericks to 36.0% shooting from the field and 12.5% from 3-point range. Meanwhile, the Raptors were moving the ball well and pushing the pace in transition, which led to a sharpshooting 60.9% from the field and 54.5% from 3-point range.
Matt Thomas gave Toronto a huge spark off the bench with 10 points on a perfect 4-for-4 from the field and 2-for-2 from beyond the arc, while Norman Powell (8 points) and Pascal Siakam (7 points) also played a role in the run.
Unfortunately for the Raptors, that hot streak did not continue in the second half.
Toronto came out and scored just 17 points in the third quarter. It went 8-for-24 from the field 1-for-9 from beyond the arc while allowing the Mavericks to out-rebound them 17-8 in the frame - a major issue for a team that wasn't making shots.
The Raptors were better in the fourth quarter making 40.9% of their field goals and 5-of-10 of their 3s, but they put themselves in too deep of a hole in that third quarter to overcome and complete a comeback.
Pascal Siakam didn't exactly have his most impressive game of the season, finishing with 15 points on an inefficient 6-for-24 from the field and 2-for-10 from long range.
Powell (26 points) and Fred VanVleet (24 points) brought it on the offensive end but aside from that duo, the rest of the team struggled. Aside from Thomas' 10 points in the second quarter, the Raptors bench scored just 11 other points the rest of the game.
This was the first example of how this team could struggle on nights where Siakam doesn't have it going - especially without key offensive factors like Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka.
Mavericks dominate the glass
How does a team that shot 42.0% from the field and 23.1% from 3-point range win the game, you ask? Because the Mavericks outrebounded the Raptors 55-42 in a game where neither team was very efficient in knocking down shots.
Dallas got 15 rebounds from each of their two stars - Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis - while even smaller guys like Seth Curry (6 rebounds) and Delon Wright (4 rebounds) were able to rip down a couple boards. Maxi Kleber also added six rebounds and Dorian Finney-Smith corralled four rebounds as the Mavericks starters alone out-rebounded Toronto's entire roster.
Dallas controlled the key in general, out-scoring the Raptors 50-38 on points in the paint. Luckily for Toronto, the Mavericks only out-scored them 17-12 on second chance points and it didn't make a tremendous difference in total number of field goal attempts, but that number is jaded due to Dallas attempting over double the amount of free throws the Raptors took.
Toronto has been outrebounded in seven of their 12 games this season, and hold a pedestrian 3-4 record in those contests. Their effort on the defensive glass is fine, but their 7.7 offensive rebounds per game ranks third-worst in the NBA.
With just seven offensive boards in tonight's loss, it remains an area of concern for the defending champions.
Doncic controls game from free throw line
As previously stated, it wasn't the most efficient shooting night from Doncic.
But the Slovenian superstar still found a way to completely control the game, getting to the free throw line at will. Doncic went 15-for-19 from the charity stripe, notching a career-high in free throws made and free throw attempts in a game.
For perspective, Doncic converted as many free throws as the Raptors attempted as a team!
After the game, Raptors' head coach Nick Nurse - who received a technical foul during the game arguing the officiating - kept things simple in response to Doncic's performance.
"He got all his points from the foul line," he told the media. "I thought (Doncic) was treated very well tonight."
The Raptors return home to host the Charlotte Hornets, who come to Toronto on a two-game win streak.
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