Grades after the Raptors’ 108-105 In-Season NBA Tournament game loss to a strong Boston Celtics team.
This was a far better performance than the blowout loss earlier against Boston and the Raptors had several chances to win, or at least force overtime, even without OG Anunoby. Mark it down in the quality loss category, if you believe in such things:
Make it six straight games now where Siakam has alternated from not so good, to excellent. The only consistent thing with Siakam has been he can’t hit a three-point shot, otherwise he’s varied tremendously from night to night, at least on offence. In this one he was outstanding, against one of the NBA’s best defensive teams no less and one he’d been bad against just a week ago. Had foul trouble not kept his minutes down, maybe Siakam would have led the Raptors to a win.
The point guard needed a bounce-back after a couple of duds (3-21 shooting against Washington and Milwaukee) and he got it. Schroder hit five three-pointers – as many as he’d totalled in his previous five games — and gave his team the spacing it needed. He started quietly and didn’t do a ton in the fourth quarter, but Schroder was one of the best players on the court in the second and third quarters. The third was a crucial one.
Poeltl seems to be rounding into form after some early wobbles. Darko Rajakovic has noticed and played Poeltl more than 30 minutes (34) for the first time all season. Poeltl hit all five of his shots and was good defensively. He’s starting to look more comfortable and is playing off his teammates better.
GARY TRENT JR.
A welcome and impactful return for the guard who got his second start of the year. After missing three straight Trent didn’t look rusty. In fact, he powered the offence, along with Siakam in the first quarter, providing a big boost. Unfortunately, Trent’s offence dried up from there and he was pretty much a decoy in the fourth quarter.
Barnes had flashes of brilliance in this one, but yet again most of them came after an unacceptable start. Barnes has looked like an all-star this season, but the only flaw has been a string of terrible starts to games. Invisible in the first and way off in the second (0-5 from the field), Barnes started to come alive in the third and went into takeover mode in the fourth, though a lack of a stoppage of play kept him out for too long.
Collected a team-best nine rebounds and played most of the fourth quarter as the Raptors continued to try to rally. Achiuwa hasn’t found his form of prior seasons yet, partly due to injury, but this was a welcome step back in the right direction and a reminder of how he can help the team
All three players had a moment or two, but were mostly quiet. None of them even played in the huge third quarter that changed the game and gave the Raptors a chance (other than 15 seconds for Boucher). Boucher and Flynn weren’t able to build on recent good games, but weren’t net negatives either.
Not a good night for the rookie forward. Couldn’t hit a shot and turned the ball over twice. Barely played in the second half despite initially being Rajakovic’s first choice off the bench.
1 – Pascal Siakam
2 – Jaylen Brown
3 – Dennis Schroder