Jokic Mastery

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OG Anunoby’s Career Night Not Enough, Raptors Drop 3rd Straight Game

Boy, would it have been good to have Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka in the fold on this night.

Undermanned against one of the best teams in the league on the road is already a clear disadvantage, but what complicated things even further was the amount of shear size the Denver Nuggets presented on Sunday night. The Toronto Raptors had seemingly no answer for Nikola Jokic who put on a basketball clinic, finishing the night with a 23 point, 18 rebound, and 11 assist triple-double, leading the Nuggets to a 133-118 victory.

“Even though Nikola had a triple-double and other guys played well, I thought Jerami Grant’s performance was the most impactful,” Nuggets coach Mike Malone said.

While the Nuggets obliterated the Raptors from long range, hitting 50 percent of their three pointers, the troubles began on the inside, where the Nuggets bigs bullied the Raptors lack of size, broke down the Raptors’ defense, and forced the Raptors to be late to defend the perimeter.

Simply put, when you give up 133 points, it is fair to assume that the opposition was able to score at will from anywhere on the floor.

“We didn’t do a good job of guarding them and putting some pressure on them,” Pascal Siakam, who had a horrendous 6-of-21 shooting performance, said following the loss. “They had a lot of back-cuts, easy layups. Not a lot of protection under the rim.”

In what was otherwise a disappointing night, the Raptors witnessed the best game of OG Anunoby’s career. The third year forward finished the night with a career-high 32 points and seven rebounds and has now picked up a ridiculous 13 steals in his past two contests. The offensive game remains unpolished despite the strides Anunoby has made this season, but defensively, he has looked like an All-Defense calibre player through and through.

“We’ve put him on some really good players here lately,” said Raptors head coach Nick Nurse. “He starts tonight on Jokic, a little bit unorthodox to do, but he’s taking the challenge of trying to be the guy that’s going to be that defensive stopper we need him to be. Man, he’s been really good, was really good tonight.”

Losers of three straight, the Raptors will need a big bounce back performance on Tuesday when they take on the lowly Phoenix Suns.

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