The Toronto Raptors were back to full strength in this one with OG Anunoby returning to the lineup, but they still couldn't snap their losing streak.
Despite holding a five-point lead with 1:25 remaining in the game, Toronto couldn't stop Donovan Mitchell down the stretch to close out the game.
If you missed any of the action, we have you covered with some thoughts below.
1. OG Anunoby's return
Anunoby was the last of the group of five players to return to action after clearing the league's health and safety protocols, ending a six-game absence.
He didn't show many signs of rust, going for 15 points, five rebounds and four steals while shooting 6-for-8 from the field and 3-for-5 from beyond the arc. He played an integral role on the defensive end, as he always does, doing all he could on All-Star centre Rudy Gobert.
Anunoby didn't need much of a restriction in his first game back, playing 34 minutes on the night - an encouraging sign for the team.
Ouuuu that's nice, G pic.twitter.com/rUFxhTLIBV- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) March 20, 2021
2. Pascal Siakam's big second half
Like VanVleet, Siakam expectedly looked like he was out of rhythm in his first game back on Wednesday. He had a quiet first half in this one, only scoring seven points by the break.
To kick off the third quarter, Siakam's energy kept the Raptors in the contest, going for 11 points in the frame alone. His effort had Toronto in a position to win the game, but the team just couldn't close out down the stretch.
Siakam finished with 27 points, nine assists and five rebounds, also knocking down four 3-pointers. 20 of those 27 points came in the second half, and his potential game-tying 3-point attempt touched every part of the rim before eventually bouncing out.
It was a tough break for both him and the Raptors, but his performance should provide optimism.
3. Donovan Mitchell comes up clutch
Mitchell had a slow start to the game, shooting 2-for-9 from the field in the first half. He was still impacting the game in other ways, but the shots weren't falling.
In the second half, when his team needed him most, the All-Star guard stepped up to the plate. His and-one to tie the game with under a minute to play gave the Jazz a fighting chance, and a clutch pull-up jumper shortly thereafter would eventually decide the outcome.
🕷🥶🕷🥶🕷🥶 pic.twitter.com/DXGgzm6RyD- utahjazz (@utahjazz) March 20, 2021
Mitchell finished with 31 points, six assists, five rebounds and three steals, a strong stat line to make up for going 0-for-9 from 3-point range. With 12 of his 31 points coming in the fourth quarter, it was the superstar's efforts that willed Utah to victory.
4. Fred VanVleet finds his groove
VanVleet was open about his battle with COVID-19 and how it affected his energy level. In his first game back, the star guard looked out of rhythm, which is to be expected following nearly a three-week absence while dealing with the virus.
In this contest, VanVleet looked like his usually self from the get-go - he made his first shot of the game and stayed hot in the first half. He had 15 points and five assists at the half and ended the second quarter with a bang.
BET ON YOURSELF, BABY pic.twitter.com/ylx6o7PH7K- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) March 20, 2021
He cooled off in second half, but still had 17 points, nine assists, six rebounds and two steals. Playing 41 minutes in his second game might raise a cause for concern, but VanVleet looked to be clicking on all cylinders.
5. Joe Ingles stays hot
Ingles filled in for a resting Mike Conley in the starting lineup against the Wizards on Thursday and as a result, he erupted for a career-high 34 points. Knocking down eight 3-pointers, Ingles had the hot hand coming into this one.
That hot hand didn't cool off overnight, even with Ingles returning to his role off the bench. The Aussie forward gave the Jazz a jolt, scoring 19 points on an efficient 5-for-6 shooting from 3.
12- utahjazz (@utahjazz) March 20, 2021
11 ^ 1
10 | 2
9 ⊙----> jingling
6. Rudy Gobert dominates the boards
It wasn't just Gobert, but he corralled a healthy number of available rebounds in this one. The All-Star centre took advantage of an undersized Raptors squad, going for a double-double of 15 points and 16 rebounds.
As a team, Utah crushed Toronto on the glass, winning the battle of the boards 48-31. With nine of those coming on the offensive glass, the Jazz also out-scored the Raptors 19-7 on second-chance points. Those are the types of factors that make a difference in a game's outcome.
7. Kyle Lowry climbing the all-time 3-pointers list
With his first 3-ball of the game, Lowry entered the top 20 on the NBA's all-time 3-pointers list, breaking his tie with Rashard Lewis.
Congrats to @Klow7 of the @Raptors for moving up to 20th on the all-time THREES MADE list! pic.twitter.com/1aagsW5hpY- NBA (@NBA) March 20, 2021
Lowry is already the Raptors' franchise leader in 3-pointers made, but now he has entered elite company of shooters in the NBA. Sitting ahead of him is 3-point marksmen Klay Thompson, who has 1,798 made 3s in his career. With Thompson out for the entire 2020-21 season rehabbing a torn Achilles, Lowry will only need seven more 3s to pass him for the time-being.
Over the course of his career, Lowry has shot a solid 36.7 percent from beyond the arc.
8. Chris Boucher: the league's best 3-point shot blocker
In the first quarter of this contest, Boucher did what he does better than anyone else in the league, blocking Jordan Clarkson's corner 3-point attempt.
According to The Athletic's Blake Murphy, it was his 18th blocked 3-point shot on the season, which is more than 28 (!) teams in the NBA.
No shot is safe pic.twitter.com/WtrPq64SfW- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) March 20, 2021
Boucher has been a shot blocking machine this season, averaging 2.0 blocks per game, good for fifth-best in the NBA.
9. What's next?
The Raptors will have one day off before taking the floor again on Sunday, traveling to Cleveland to take on the Cavaliers. The Jazz will have the rest of the weekend off before taking on the Chicago Bulls on Monday.
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