Raptors Win Big, Toronto Celebrates Rise of Canadian Basketball
For the first time in league history, four Canadians were on the court at the same time.
During a week in which a number of NBA stars verbally committed to Canada’s national program, the Raptors welcomed fellow countryman R.J. Barrett and Ignas Brazdeikis back home. Then in the fourth quarter they were joined on the court by Montreal native Chris Boucher and Mississauga-born Oshae Brissett in a moment that perfectly culminated an exciting past few days in Canadian basketball.
Unfortunately for Barrett and the Knicks, the game itself did not going according to plan.
After a sloppy first quarter by the Toronto Raptors, the reigning NBA champions grabbed hold of the lead and ensued to absolutely decimate their helpless opponents by a final score of 126-98. In what was a total basketball clinic, the Raptors outscored the Knicks 105-69 in the final three frames.
“We started lackadaisical a bit and then figured it out end of the first, start of the second and that’s all you look for,” said Fred VanVleet. “Just try to keep getting better and take each win where you can get it.”
The Raptors provided minutes to everyone who was able to physically step onto the court. Head coach Nick Nurse unloaded the bench, even providing minutes to some members of the organization’s G League affiliate, the 905. The Raptors second unit finished the night with a combined 57 points with Terence Davis leading the way with 15 and Chris Boucher pouring in a 13-point, 12-rebound double-double. Even Malcolm Miller got some minutes and absolutely unleashed from beyond the arc, finishing with 13 points, knocking in four of his five three-pointers.
Led by 31 points from Pascal Siakam, the Raptors defense came up big yet again, holding the Knicks to just 38-percent shooting from the field.
“You’ve got to give their defense credit,” Knicks head coach David Fizdale said. “Those guys really get after it. They’re long, they make everything tough. That’s not an easy team to just come in and drop numbers on.”
With their fifth straight win, the Raptors set an NBA record winning 33 consecutive games against divisional foes. The Raptors will head to Florida next to take on the Orlando Magic on Friday night.