Toronto’s Raptors beat the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday to take a 3-2 series lead. Here are three key takeaways from Toronto’s victory.
The “raptors wizards” is a game that was played on Thursday night. The game had 3 key takeaways from the game, which are discussed in detail below.
It was a night of old school vs new school, and the Toronto Raptors came out on top.
On one hand, it was possibly Fred VanVleet’s most complete game to date, as he channeled the spirits of Raptors great past. On the other hand, it was a squad made of largely of young players—Gary Trent Jr., OG Anunoby, Dalano Banton, and, yes, even Precious Achiuwa—who were still figuring out who they were and how they fit together.
The Raptors have now won five consecutive games and are unbeaten (4-0) on the road after a 109-100 win against the Washington Wizards.
VanVleet told reporters after the game, “I’m not taking this for granted.” “Did you see us last year?” says the narrator. “I’m not going to take anything for granted.”
Here are three major takeaways from yet another outstanding performance:
Raptors vs. Wizards Takeaways
3. Maestro Fred VanVleet
VanVleet didn’t just roast the Wizards for 33 points, three rebounds, and six assists on 69.4 percent true shooting, which was better than his 54-point game when he literally went supernova. For 43 minutes, H also established himself as the only controlling force, seizing control of the whole game and fine-tuning it to his taste.
These kind of performances weren’t uncommon in the days when Kyle Lowry was still a Raptor. He’d declare control over every aspect of every property all of a sudden. Each dribble, pass, and charge would be a note in an ever-lilting orchestra, as if he were leading a basketball symphony.
He was a master at his craft.
@FredVanVleet pic.twitter.com/bBFKchHnxi In and Out… to the Darth FADEer
November 4, 2021 — Toronto Raptors (@Raptors)
For the first time in his career, VanVleet was in the same boat.
“It’s been an adjustment,” VanVleet said of being the only floor general on the squad. “It hasn’t been good or awful; it has just been different.” It’s frustrating some nights, and I feel terrific others, but it’s all part of the learning process, and I spent five years playing with a Hall of Famer, and we had a fantastic offensive synergy. To be honest, I miss Kyle [Lowry] on defense more than on offense, but I’m just trying to establish my rhythm and get to know my teammates.”
VanVleet directed his own musical composition from start to finish, consisting mostly of indisputably stoic defense, his magnum opus in the pick-and-roll, and an opportunistic-turned-ferocious midrange game that would have made DeMar DeRozan and Kawhi Leonard blush.
The Raptors outscored the Wizards 28-12 in the paint, with VanVleet accounting for 12 of those points. Whether it was creating space for himself in a pick-and-roll or cutting across the lane for a fallaway with a defender in his face, VanVleet found a level of comfort within the arc that has become a staple for him this season–something that, if it continues, will allow him to evolve into a true three-level scoring threat.
Head coach Nick Nurse remarked, “We’ve put in a lot of effort [on our half-court offense].” “However, having a man like Fred [VanVleet] who can control the pace always helps.” He’s calling some excellent plays, and he’s scoring, but he’s also finding some guys. He discovered some short rolls to Khem [Birch], slap cutters, and a kick-out three here and there.”
Even when the Wizards realized what they were doing and started trapping VanVleet in the pick-and-roll, he responded as any great would: he kept his dribble going and calmly waited for a passing window to the open guy to appear.
Indeed, this was a show that lived up to its expectations, and it may be the start of the next chapter of VanVleet’s illustrious career.
Svi Mykhailiuk stated, “He’s a fantastic leader, he’s a tremendous player.” “Obviously, everyone trusts him, and we trust him, and he makes everyone’s job simpler.”
2. Achiuwa, the passer-by, is a precious Achiuwa.
It would be irresponsible to claim that Achiuwa is off to a tremendous start this season. He hasn’t, and his play against the Wizards on Wednesday night wasn’t very impressive.
It was, however, his greatest passing performance of the season. He got four assists, but he should’ve had more. VanVleet started hunting for him as soon as he came out of the pick-and-roll. Achiuwa (who, as a 22-year-old raw talent, has maybe underestimated dishing instincts) spent the majority of his receptions on the roll identifying the defenders in front of him about to converge and kicking the ball out to a perimeter shooter for a decent look.
Now, his response speed was sometimes a beat slower than desired, and his passes weren’t always on-target, but the process (and occasionally results!) were there. He was reading the plays in front of him and shooting the ball to the proper areas in such instances.
Achiuwa is clearly putting in the effort to become more of what the Raptors need him to be in every way. Against the Wizards, he spent less time driving the ball into traffic while wearing blinders, instead handing it off and trusting that his teammates would find him later in the play.
On NBA League Pass, Precious Achiuwa drops the HAMMER @Raptors lead going into Q4. V0kkYEEIkG (https://t.co/V0kkYEEIkG) (https://t.co/V0kkYEEI pic.twitter.com/68aV0xQ7iX
November 4, 2021 — NBA (@NBA)
Even if the rest of his game hasn’t yet converted into what it might be, they are achievements to be proud of.
1. A win for the team
While VanVleet’s night was unquestionably his, the Raptors as a team performed well. For the most part, they played as a team, consistently good defense and finding all of the open spaces on attack.
Four of the five starters scored 15 points or more, while the club shot 40 percent (10-25) from three-point range. Except for the aforementioned midrange points, which they dominated, they maintained pace with the Wizards in practically every statistical category.
“Everyone seems to be engaged, and everyone seems to be assisting one other,” Mykhailiuk added. “I think that’s the biggest reason we can play aggressively—we know our teammates are behind us and will protect us, and we simply rotate to whatever we’re doing.” I believe it is a team effort, and everyone is playing for each other. That’s exactly what has to happen in order for it to look beautiful.”
Khem Birch and Banton provided nice sparks off the bench once again. Birch was a +10 (second only to VanVleet) for his soothing, steady presence, while Banton supplied not just that familiar change of pace when he began plays but also scored a couple of critical baskets (including one highly impressive straight-line drive).
The series of performances this squad has put together to start the 2021-22 season has been, in a word, explosive, even with three rotation players sitting on the bench.
The “raptor comments” is a series of key takeaways from the Raptors’ 5th game. The Raptors won their fifth game in a row against the New York Knicks.
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