Siakam, Powell Lead Toronto Raptors to Big Home Victory Over the Nets
It’s a long regular season – some would say maybe a little too long.
During what is an 82 game season, slumps happen. No matter how good a team is, no matter the calibre of the talent – bumps in the road are normal. What distinguishes a good team from a bad team is what a good team does to get over the hump and get back on track.
The Toronto Raptors shooting woes have persisted over the past five games, in which they have only mustered up one victory against the Chicago Bulls. With a much needed extra day off, the Raptors needed to regroup against an undermanned Brooklyn Nets team and look to right the ship.
“I think first of all, you start a season and you always kind of have 8 or 10 games where, you know [you go cold],” said head coach Nick Nurse prior to tip-off. “I remember having these discussions with a lot of people saying you know, we’re gonna have a half a dozen nights where we’re 6-for-36, and we’re probably gonna get beat. But this is the way we’re gonna play, and over the course of 82, we believe in the percentages. You’ve gotta try to not get too wound up in it.”
In what was yet another cliche “never underestimate the heart of a champion” game, the Raptors seemed to have snap out of their shooting slump. The defensive was tough, the Raptors were able to get out in transition, and they shot 35-percent from long range en route to a 110-102 victory.
“It gave us some good energy to start, to shoot the ball so well,” said Nurse. “We shot it really good at the start, got back to ourselves.”
Over their past five games leading up to Saturday evening, the Raptors were dead last in offensive rating (98.4 points per 100 possessions) and last in three-point percentage. Prior to the slide, the Raptors ranked fifth and first in each category spelling that the slide was nothing more than an outlier.
Leading the charge for the Raptors on the night was Pascal Siakam, who finished with 30 points, 10 rebounds and five assists, along with three steals and three blocks. Both Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka finished with double-doubles, while Norman Powell put up 25 points in the win.
“I’m just being aggressive and taking advantage of the opportunity and increased minutes and whenever I’m on the floor looking for opportunities to play my game and continue rolling,” said Powell, who hit five of his seven three-point attempts on the night. “I don’t look back at the games I’ve played or whatever the streak is. It’s all about game-in, game-out, doing whatever it takes to help the team win and whatever the coaches ask of me with the game plan I try to go out and execute and live with the results. I put the work in, I’m confident in myself and I just continue to play basketball.”
Improving to 17-8, the Raptors will look to build off the much needed victory as they take on the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night before traveling down to Detroit to face former head coach Dwane Casey.