RAPTORS GRADES: Top marks for big win over Durant and the Phoenix Suns

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It’s impossible to figure out this Raptors team. We keep saying it, but it’s the truth. One night they look listless and lottery bound, the next like world beaters. There’s no real rhyme or reason. That said, Wednesday’s 112-105 win over Phoenix was one of the high points of the season so far. Can they finally build on it? Here’s the report card:

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A+ OG ANUNOBY

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Not at his best in Brooklyn a night earlier, Anunoby did a 180° turn. He put on a defensive clinic against Devin Booker and at times Kevin Durant and also had a decent offensive game. The Raptors should send in the tape of this game when it comes time for voters to decide on the all-defensive teams. If Anunoby doesn’t make the first team he’s been robbed.

A- SCOTTIE BARNES

Another game where Barnes eased his way into the proceedings. You barely noticed Barnes in the first half on offence (he was good the whole way through on defence), but he made his presence felt in the third quarter and then was easily the best player on the floor in the fourth. It’s tough to play 38 minutes and look like a superstar for all of them, but that’s the challenge for Barnes if he’s to meet his immense potential.

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A PRECIOUS ACHIUWA

Nobody needed this one more than Achiuwa. After maybe his worst game as a Raptor in Brooklyn, an outing plagued by fouls and mistakes, Achiuwa turned the page with one of his best efforts of the season. Achiuwa is arguably Toronto’s top rebounder and he was a monster on the glass while also playing strong defence and hitting his shots. Like others, Achiuwa must build on this if he wants to remain Darko Rajakovic’s first big man choice off the bench.

B+ PASCAL SIAKAM

Siakam set the tone early with a marvellous first quarter. He scored and set up teammates for three-pointers as the Raptors landed the first punch. He kept it up in the second quarter and though he was pretty quiet in the second half, Siakam had already left his imprint on the game. Energy wasn’t an issue, despite the back-to-back and the 5 a.m. arrival time in Toronto.

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B+ DENNIS SCHRODER

How do you shoot 3-11 and earn a B+? Easy, you hand out 12 assists without committing a turnover (that’s 21 assists and zero turnovers over the two games) and make one of your three baskets one of the biggest of the night by anyone. Schroder’s tough layup in the final minute sealed the game for the Raptors. He also collected six rebounds and contributed to the good defence.

B- JAKOB POELTL

Why only a B- if Poeltl only missed one of his nine shot attempts? Well, Jusuf Nurkic outplayed Poeltl and pretty decisively, helping to keep the Suns in the game. Poeltl wasn’t bad by any means, he guarded the other Suns well at the rim, but he got manhandled at times by the gigantic Bosnian Beast. Poeltl didn’t rebound the way he usually does and didn’t create for his teammates like usual either.

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B- GARY TRENT JR.

Another good outing for Trent, who is in the process of turning his season around following a rough start. Trent nailed three of Toronto’s three-pointers and hit the boards hard, providing a needed all-around lift off the bench. Trent didn’t get to the free throw line at all, so didn’t get to shake off his early season wobbles there.

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INC: CHRIS BOUCHER, MALACHI FLYNN, JALEN MCDANIELS

THREE STARS

1 OG Anunoby

2 Scottie Barnes

3 Jusuf Nurkic

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