The Toronto Raptors turned the page on an ugly loss earlier this week with one of the best wins of the last three seasons, a convincing drubbing of the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night at Scotiabank Arena.
Here’s how we’d grade the Raptors, followed by some stuff we think you’d like to know:
A+ — Scottie Barnes, Pascal Siakam, Dennis Schroder: We’ve never seen Barnes and Siakam both be locked in from beyond the arc in the same game (more on that later). Meanwhile, Schroder was fantastic again, mixing great passing with fearless finishing and good shooting.
A — O.G. Anunoby, Jakob Poeltl: Outstanding defence on Damian Lillard and Giannis Antetokounmpo and Anunoby didn’t even miss a shot. He only attempted one three-pointer and had five fouls, or else he’d be in the A+ category too.
Meanwhile, Poeltl shook off some rough games to start the season as he recovered from an illness to play his best game since rejoining the Raptors last season. He constantly found himself open down low, and also blocked four shots and grabbed 11 rebounds.
B+ — Chris Boucher, Otto Porter Jr.: Boucher was relentless on the glass and set a real tone. Porter played for the first time in nearly a year and hit a pair of three-pointers and made a key pass to Barnes for a dagger three to end the third quarter when Milwaukee was threatening for the only time in the game.
B — Malachi Flynn: Best game of the year for the embattled backup point guard. His numbers might not show it, but Flynn was quite good at both ends of the floor.
C — Gary Trent Jr., Gradey Dick: Arguably the team’s two best shooters, both have struggled to hit so far this season. That continued in this one (Dick was 2-10, including 1-8 from three-point range) and Trent missed all five of his three-point attempts, but they were active defensively and Dick even took a charge on Antetokounmpo.
RAPPING IT UP:
— Not only was this the first time both Siakam and Barnes had hit four three-pointers each in the same game, it was the first time they’d each hit three.
Precious Achiuwa missed a second straight game due to a groin injury. Head coach Darko Rajakovic said Achiuwa was “doing a lot better” though with “testing and everything showing a lot of improvement.”
— Schroder continues to rack up assists. He’s now the second Raptor ever with at least seven assists in the first five games with the team (Mark Jackson). He’s fourth in the league in assists. If this keeps up, Schroder can be the best free agent signing in Raptors history. It’s not the highest bar, but it’s true.
— The 35 assists were more than a Raptors team has managed in every game but two since the 2020-21 season. This was also the sixth-highest field goal percentage in that time. Toronto also came in shooting just 69% from the free throw line, but hit 13 of 14.
— Anunoby tied Terrence Ross for fourth in franchise history in three-point makes (Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, and Morris Peterson are still well ahead).
— Toronto’s all-time worst start to a season (1-19 in 1997-98) is safe. Can they repeat what they did two years ago when they went 1-3, but rallied to win five straight after that and ended up winning 48 games?
— Lillard’s nine shot attempts were his fewest since Jan. 31, 2018. The one three-point make was tied for his fewest in a game over the last two seasons. He also oddly only hit two against the Raptors last January. Yes, the Raptors hounded Milwaukee’s stars, but they also just didn’t seem as engaged as normal. That combination made this one a rout.
1- Pascal Siakam
2- Scottie Barnes
3- Dennis Schroder