Doncic, Hardaway Jr. Lead Mavericks Past Raptors with Big Second Half
The Toronto Raptors are still searching for their first regular season victory north of the border since 2019.
Moreover, they are still searching for an identity on the offensive side of the ball.
It was no secret that going into the season with Kyle Lowry no longer with the team and Pascal Siakam rehabbing a shoulder injury that the Raptors would struggle scoring the basketball. Through three games, the Raptors have played enough defense to be 3-0, but it has been their hot-and-cold offense that leaves a plethora of questions that will need to be answered.
Despite getting out to a first half lead, the Dallas Mavericks made the necessary half-time adjustments after which the Raptors simply folded. And as the Raptors folded, it was Mavs superstar Luka Doncic who took care of the rest, en route to a 103-95 Dallas win.
“He’s a pretty good player,” said Raptors rookie Scottie Barnes, who was tasked with helping defend the Mavs phenom. “He can do so many things with the ball, with the ball in his hands, and he just makes things happen. He torches people coming off the ball screen, hitting the weak-side guy, scoring, getting to the basket, being able just to get a lot of attention being able to do so many different things.”
Call it one of Barnes’ first welcome to the NBA moments as he and the Raptors struggled to contain Doncic who went off for 27 points, 12 assists and nine boards. Tim Hardaway Jr. added 25 points in the win, hitting clutch perimeter shot after clutch perimeter shot seemingly each time the Raptors got within striking distance.
Playing on the second half of a back-to-back, the Raptors lacked the same intensity as they did the previous night against the Boston Celtics. OG Anunoby led the way for the Raptors with 23 points, while Fred VanVleet added 20 points, five assists and five rebounds of his own. Barnes followed up his career night with 17 points and eight boards.
“We probably ran out of gas a little bit,” said coach Nick Nurse. “Those are the nights we really need our bench to provide some energy at home, back-to-back, we really needed them to give us something, and they got outplayed pretty badly, I thought.”
Next up for the Raptors are the Chicago Bulls as Toronto hopes to find their way back to .500%.