The losing streak ends at three.
Behind 30 points from Pascal Siakam, the Toronto Raptors earned a much-needed win over the Orlando Magic to move to 8-12 on the season.
Five different Raptors finished in double figures, including Kyle Lowry who finished with 12 points to go along with a game-high 15 assists and six boards. Aron Baynes turned in one of his best games as a Raptor with eight-points and a season-high 16 rebounds.
The Magic were led by 16 points from rookie Cole Anthony but as a team, shot just 33-for-82 (40.2%) from the field.
For more on how it went down, here are some thoughts from the game…
1. Pascal being Pascal
The energy, the hustle, the aggression.
As Leo Rautins noted during the Raptors broadcast on Sportsnet, Pascal Siakam is getting back to the things that resulted in his breaking out into an All-Star and All-NBA player. His aggression resulted in him finishing with 30 points on 12-for-23 shooting from the field and 6-for-6 shooting from the charity stripe.
Interestingly enough, it is the first time this season that the Raptors have won in a game that Siakam scored 20 or more points, they were 0-7 entering tonight.
The correlation of that stat is certainly not what it suggests but the Raptors can only hope that they can continue to rack up wins as Siakam continues his uptick in scoring. All 24 of Siakam's points from the field came in the paint.
It's clear what's working.
2. KLow's dishes it out
As mentioned above, Lowry finished with a game-high 15 assists to go with 12 points.
Naturally, a few of his passes led to some nice highlights.
Like not one, but two lobs to DeAndre' Bembry.
All-Star vision @Klow7 | #NBAAllStar pic.twitter.com/2TOItsDkSf- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) February 1, 2021
Point GAWD at work @Klow7 | #NBAAllStar- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) February 1, 2021
⭐️ 1 RT = 1 Vote ⭐️ pic.twitter.com/Vt99TdbsIS
Not to mention he set up the dunk of the night…
🗣️ THAT'S A 50@pskills43 | #NBAAllStar- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) February 1, 2021
⭐️ 1 RT = 1 Vote ⭐️ pic.twitter.com/WreTeAhHCW
We'll give that a second look in a bit.
3. Next man up
The injury bug has bitten the Raptors in each of the last two seasons, and the "Next man up" mentality is essentially woven within the fabric of this team.
With OG Anunoby and Norman Powell again out due to injury, a number of players were called upon to step up and they certainly delivered.
HIS NAME IS YUTA WATANABE AND HE SAID NAW FAM pic.twitter.com/VgM5nKuDY0- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) February 1, 2021
In a starting role, Terence Davis finished with 12 points (on 5-for-11 shooting) while DeAndre' Bembry (12) and Yuta Watanabe (11) combined for 23 points on a combined 7-for-10 (70.0%) shooting from the field. Chris Boucher added nine points and Paul Watson sank two triples for six points in the game.
Toronto's reserves finished the game with a much-needed 44 points.
4. Plenty of CanCon in Tampa
The Raptors might be playing in Tampa but there was plenty of CanCon in this one.
With three minutes remaining in the first frame, Chris Boucher (Montreal, QC) checked in to the game across from Khem Birch (Montreal, QC). In addition to the two Montrealers, referee Matt Kallio, a native of Edmonton, AB, was officiating the game.
Kallio is the first Canadian that ever officiated an NBA regular-season game while Birch and Boucher will likely be two key members of Team Canada's frontcourt as it looks to qualify for the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Magic two-way guard Karim Mané also calls Montreal home but is preparing for the upcoming G League season at the Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, FL.
5. Baynes on the boards
Up to this point in the season, it hasn't been the smoothest integration of Aron Baynes into the Raptors system but the tide is slowly turning.
That trend upward continued Sunday night as he finished with eight points and a season-high 16 rebounds, just one shy of his career-best. Baynes rebounding was especially important as the Magic entered the night as the league's best offensive rebounding team.
His presence was also felt as a defender, too…
6. Vucevic's Toronto struggles continue
In recent history, Nikola Vucevic has had a difficult time finding offensive success against the Raptors, largely due to the defence of Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka.
Although those two have moved on, the struggles continued.
Baynes, among many others, made life difficult for Vucevic, who finished with 15 points but shot just 5-for-18 (27.8%) shooting. Excluding the game in which he was injured early last season, Vucevic is averaging 10.7 points and 11.7 rebounds on 24.3% shooting against the Raptors.
7. Pascal's punctuation mark
Let's take another moment for a big dunk from Siakam, which might be his best play of the night.
MORE DUNKS FOR YOUR HEADTOP@pskills43 | #NBAAllStar- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) February 1, 2021
⭐️ 1 RT = 1 Vote ⭐️ pic.twitter.com/VqoR6uQPEE
Definitely a 10 out of 10.
8. Lowry and Gordon's history
It's no secret that there's a bit of history between the two, who exchanged some heated words in an early August matchup in the Orlando bubble.
Nearly six months later, the two were again entrenched in a minor dust-up, as Gordon was whistled for a Flagrant 1 foul for lowering his shoulder into an unsuspecting Lowry in the first half. Lowry spent a good chunk of time in the second half switched onto Gordon but things were appropriately de-escalated following their early run-in.
Gordon exited early with an ankle injury , meaning his status moving forward is dependent on upcoming testing. Should he be back for the next meeting, the dynamic between Gordon and Lowry is certainly a subplot.
9. What's next?
These two teams are back at it again.
The Raptors will make the 90-minute bus ride to Orlando to face the Magic on Tuesday, Feb. 2 at 7 p.m. on Sportsnet.
Catch ya then.
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