The Toronto Raptors got back on track Saturday night, earning a 110-102 win over the Brooklyn Nets, simultaneously snapping a three-game home losing streak while extending their NBA-record home winning streak over divisional foes to 34 games.
MORE: 10 things we learned from Toronto's win over Brooklyn
It was a complete team effort from the Raptors but there were a number of contributors that stood out, including veteran centre Marc Gasol, who recorded his third double-double of the year with season-highs in points (17) and rebounds (15).
While Gasol's impact this season has sometimes been difficult to measure in the box score, it's been felt on the defensive end as he has served as the team's anchor defensively while making things difficult for opposing big men.
MORE: Gasol is the key to the Raptors building an elite defence
Still, considering the fact that the 34-year-old entered the night averaging just 6.4 points and 6.6 rebounds, his performance against Brooklyn felt like a breakthrough of some sort. Following the game, his teammates said as much, as they delivered high praise for what the big man did against Brooklyn, per TSN's Josh Lewenberg.
Norman Powell, who had a big game of his own, made reference to Gasol's season averages, saying, "I love Marc. A lot of people have been hard on him this year for the scoring numbers but he's a real key to our team."
That Gasol's scoring average is a career-low could be a cause for concern but performances like Saturday's serve as a reminder of just what he is capable of offensively, a sentiment echoed by point guard Kyle Lowry.
"Marc can still play basketball, man, at a high level," the five-time All-Star said. "I think he can still make some post-up moves, tonight was a good example of that."
It's worth noting that Gasol did not have much of an offseason, as he followed a Finals run with the Raptors with a full Summer as a member of the Spanish National Team that would go on to win Gold at the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup in September.
Given his limited participation in this year's training camp, it's fair to assume that Gasol's slow start to the season could be attributed to his working himself back into shape. With Toronto looking to remain among the top half of teams in the Eastern Conference playoff picture, performances like this one serve as an encouraging prospect for what he brings to the team as he shakes off more rust.
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