Scottie is Here

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Rookie Scottie Barnes has Career Night in Raptors First Win of the Season

When the Toronto Raptors chose Scottie Barnes with the fourth overall pick in this past June’s NBA Draft, the selection was met with confusion and anger from Raptors faithful.

Jalen Suggs was supposed to be the guy.

Who is Scottie Barnes? How do you not pick Suggs?

Let this go for all those still questioning Masai Ujiri and his front office. Just don’t. Take a deep breathe, let things play out, and realize that Ujiri has a process that he sticks to – a process that has been proven to work. Fast forward to the second game of the team’s regular season and Barnes has already shown exactly what the Raptors saw in him when they made him the fourth player taken off the board.

For all who have doubted him, Friday night was Scottie Barnes’ coming out party.

The 20-year old rookie exploded for 25-points and 13 rebounds on 11-for-17 shooting, helping lead the Raptors to a lopsided 115-83 victory over the Boston Celtics. Barnes led the Raptors with a net rating of +29 while thoroughly outplaying his counterpart Jaylen Brown – an All-Star no less – and holding him to just nine points on the night.

“I thought he was excellent,” said head coach Nick Nurse of Barnes after the game. “What I liked the most was he was at the front of the rim a lot tonight. Put-backs and cuts and drives and that’s what we like to see, be able to use some of that size and length.

“He had a really good game tonight, that’s for sure.”

Outside of Barnes, Gary Trent Jr., who stepped into the starting lineup after appearing off the bench in the season opener, scored 20 points of his own, while both Fred VanVleet and Chris Boucher scored 11 points apiece. Precious Achiuwa, meanwhile, had his best game as a Raptor, pouring in 15 points and grabbing 15 boards.

“We played really hard tonight and a lot of the things that we’re trying to incorporate, we did most of them tonight,” said Nurse. “We got out in transition, we got on the offensive glass, we tipped the ball around pretty good. It was a really impressive defensive effort by our whole team.”

This was one of those complete games that the Raptors will now look to build upon moving forward. The Celtics were held to under 40-percent shooting from the field and were a -18 on the glass, including a -11 on the offensive boards. The Raptors also won the points in the paint battle by a score of 58-32, en route to the blowout victory.

The Raptors will have to deal with a quick turnaround as they head back home and will take on the Dallas Mavericks tonight.

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