Close but no cigar.
On Friday, the Toronto Raptors dropped their sixth straight game in losing to the Dallas Mavericks by a final score of 114-110.
Luka Doncic recorded a 20-point, 11-assist, 10-rebound triple-double while Kristaps Porzingis led the Mavericks in scoring with 21 points to go along with 10 rebounds. The Raptors, meanwhile, were led by Jalen Harris, who scored a career-high 31 points.
For more on the game, some takeaways at the buzzer...
1. The injury report
Are you ready for this?
The Raptors were without OG Anunoby (left calf strain), Rodney Hood (left hand fracture), Kyle Lowry (rest), Pascal Siakam (left shoulder strain), Fred VanVleet (left hip flexor) and Paul Watson (left knee tendinitis) against the Mavericks.
Additionally, Yuta Watanabe (right ankle soreness) was listed as doubtful before the game and was officially ruled out shortly before tipoff.
That left the Raptors with seven available players, which - you guessed it - led to another new starting lineup, their 37th of the season.
Tonight's @Invisalign starting lineup. #WeTheNorth pic.twitter.com/MCU7FDhrDA- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) May 15, 2021
2. Jalen Harris making the most of his opportunity
Born in Dallas, Harris was asked earlier in the week how it was going to feel playing against his hometown Mavericks.
"I've gotta do what I've gotta do," he responded, per TSN's Josh Lewenberg.
That must've been code for put on a show, because Harris came out of the gates strong. In 19 minutes of play, he was the game's leading scorer at the half with 17 points on 7-for-13 shooting from the field and 3-for-7 from 3-point range.
One of his buckets came on this nifty drive against Doncic:
ROOK HAD 'EM JUMPIN'@TheJalenHarris | #WeTheNorth pic.twitter.com/MnZTSl5nKu- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) May 15, 2021
Harris ended the game with 31 points. It's the fifth time this month that he's set a career high in scoring. Granted, he didn't see the court much prior to this month - he logged more minutes in this one than Toronto's first 63 games of the season combined - but he's making the most of his opportunity. It feels like he gets better each and every game.
3. It all counts the same
It was one of these nights for Harris:
🗣️ WE THE NORTH 😤 pic.twitter.com/iXX89QAluY- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) May 15, 2021
4. Rewriting the record books
Harris becomes the 10th different player on the Raptors to score 30 points in a game this season.
He joins: Pascal Siakam (9), Norman Powell (6), Fred VanVleet (6), Chris Boucher (3), Kyle Lowry (2), Gary Trent Jr. (2), OG Anunoby (1), Stanley Johnson (1) and Paul Watson (1).
Not only is 10 30-point scorers in a season a franchise record, it's an NBA record, per the broadcast.
What a weird season it's been for the Raptors.
5. Keep the triple-doubles coming
Doncic recorded his 11th triple-double of the season and the 36th of his career.
Why is that notable? Doncic is itching closer and closer to Oscar Robertson (38) for the most triple-doubles in NBA history before turning 23 years old.
Doncic doesn't turn 23 until Feb. 28, 2022, so it's safe to assume that he'll surpass the Big O early next season.
The Raptors did a pretty good job overall on Doncic in this one, holding him to 7-for-19 shooting from the field and 1-for-8 from 3-point range, but he still had his fingerprints all over the game. He also had a few moments in the fourth quarter that helped keep Dallas in the driver's seat.
LUKA SLAM pic.twitter.com/SkQmvL3Xvc- Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) May 15, 2021
6. The other rookie
Oh yeah, Malachi Flynn had himself a game as well.
Flynn was Toronto's second-leading scorer in the game with a career-best 26 points on 11-for-21 shooting from the field. He also had six rebounds, five assists and two steals.
Harris led the Raptors through the first three quarters, but it was Flynn who came alive in the fourth, when Toronto outscored Dallas 27-22 to keep it close down the stretch.
Flynn scored nine of his 26 points in the final period, two of which came off of a Fred VanVleet-like steal on Doncic with 55.6 seconds remaining.
👀👀👀 pic.twitter.com/GXm8JP8MVB- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) May 15, 2021
Like Harris, Flynn is stringing together some strong performances to end the season.
7. Back to the playoffs
With the win, the Mavericks clinched a spot in this season's playoffs.
They still don't know who they'll be playing in the first round - not only are the Denver Nuggets and LA Clippers still fighting over the No. 3 and No. 4 seed, the Portland Trail Blazers are only a game behind the Mavericks in the standings and own the tiebreaker - but they can sleep well tonight knowing they've avoided the Play-In Tournament.
8. What's next
One game remains.
On Sunday, the Raptors face the Indiana Pacers for their last game of the 2020-21 season. Toronto has been out of playoff contention for a bit now, but Indiana is still fighting for positioning in the Eastern Conference standings.
It should be an interesting one. Catch you then.
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