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Siakam and Boucher shine for Raptors regardless of mismatch vs. 76ers


Listed here are 10 takeaways from the Toronto Raptors‘ 114-109 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday.

1. The Raptors gave all the pieces they might whereas short-handed. It was at all times going to be an uphill battle with the Raptors lacking Fred VanVleet, Scottie Barnes, OG Anunoby, and all of their centres within the worst matchup within the league to not have centres for. They trailed by 12 within the fourth, and nonetheless managed to take the lead within the final two minutes. Given the circumstances, it was an important effort that got here simply quick because the Raptors missed out on a key boxout and did not get the suitable outcome on two coach’s challenges within the last minute of the sport. On the very least it wasn’t a repeat of the shambolic displaying in opposition to Cleveland, the place the Raptors had been compelled to take a loss by placing out an unprepared roster that wasn’t NBA calibre.

2. Joel Embiid is the last word mismatch. Even when the Raptors had Treasured Achiuwa and Khem Birch, who had been each on the bench in avenue garments, there is a good likelihood that Embiid nonetheless would have nonetheless produced his 36-point output. The Raptors simply merely do not have somebody to match Embiid, and it was solely predictable that he would parade to the road for 14 free throws. Embiid scored so simply at occasions, by ducking into the paint in opposition to a a lot smaller participant, backing them beneath the basket earlier than catching and ending or being put on the line. There was one play the place poor Yuta Watanabe was tasked with bumping Embiid, who pinned him previous the baseline earlier than ending for an and-one by means of the contact, and the usually mild-mannered Watanabe slammed the ball in defeat to choose up a technical foul. These outcomes are to be anticipated when the Raptors entrance workplace fully punts on centres.

3. Pascal Siakam did a superb job of working the group in tough circumstances. Siakam began brilliantly, scoring 14 factors within the first quarter on a smattering of jumpers the place he sought out the mismatch in opposition to Tobias Harris. The Sixers additionally despatched double groups his manner, and Siakam was intelligent in how he anticipated the additional defender by both feeding cutters, kicking it out, or by attacking the gaps to nonetheless get to his shot. It was an particularly tough process on condition that it was Embiid lurking as the assistance defender, a matchup that Siakam has traditionally struggled in opposition to, however he even beat his fellow Cameroonian on the basket on a couple of events.

4. Siakam shared that his signs had been far milder than the primary time he contracted COVID-19. Final season, earlier than the vaccine was made obtainable, Siakam misplaced 10 kilos amongst different extreme signs, and he struggled closely upon his return with a forgettable 3-of-11 efficiency in a loss to Detroit. This time, he in contrast his signs to a light chilly, and was sharp straight away regardless of not having the ability to do a lot past Zoom exercises. Hopefully, the identical sample holds true for the opposite Raptors gamers popping out of protocols.

5. Gary Trent Jr. was overextended in a major function. His 6-for-24 taking pictures efficiency was hardly very best on an evening the place the Raptors badly wanted him to attain, and it was clear that his rhythm was off. Trent Jr. was principally wonderful on catch-and-shoot possibilities, however he could not discover the footwork to create area on his midrange jumper. Trent Jr. did make up for the hole to a point along with his playmaking, as he recorded a career-high seven assists whereas working as the first ball handler when the Raptors shifted to a no-point-guard look, and he did rating back-to-back baskets to briefly give the Raptors a one-point lead within the fourth. Nonetheless, he failed to complete the job, with Trent Jr. failing to covert a driving reverse layup round Embiid, after which throwing a precarious go to Siakam that was deflected for a turnover.

6. Chris Boucher had his greatest sport of the season by far. Boucher was lively all through, snaring his tenth rebound with 4 minutes left within the second quarter, and was diligent in filling the lane for layups, however his sport hit one other degree within the third quarter when he rediscovered his outdoors shot. Boucher made 5 threes within the second half which stored the Raptors afloat, together with a closely contested look over Embiid’s outstretched arms, to go together with a variety of hustle performs that earned Toronto additional possessions. The turning level for Boucher got here when he was switched off the matchup with Embiid, as coach Nick Nurse shifted to an even bigger lineup with an additional ahead within the lineup. That prevented him from selecting up extra fouls, and freed him as much as crash the glass extra liberally.

7. Most of Boucher’s explosive outings coincide along with his jumper falling, however he is not only a shooter. One of the best attribute to Boucher’s sport is his hustle, and that must be constant for Nurse to maintain Boucher within the rotation. Boucher is quicker than most bigs within the league, and the place that is most obvious is in transition the place Boucher is a constant possibility to complete on the rim. His jumpers will come and go however his effort should keep constant. Boucher was having a optimistic impression on the sport even earlier than he began nailing each three.

8. Missed alternative for Malachi Flynn. He was the one wholesome level guard, and but he was so ineffective that Nurse opted to go with out one within the fourth quarter. Flynn was shaky from the beginning, failing even to get a snug grip on the ball with out dropping the deal with, and he seemed clueless in how you can generate photographs for his group. Driving the ball was unwise, but Flynn nonetheless tried to problem Embiid with nothing to point out for it, and he was wayward on his pull-up jumpers. Since he could not threaten the defence in any manner, there weren’t many possibilities for him to arrange his teammates. He was completely forgettable in his 32 minutes, and you need to surprise what number of extra possibilities Flynn will get this season. One of many largest points for the Raptors this season has been the shortage of a viable backup level guard, and the fault principally rests with Flynn.

9. D.J. Wilson has been a shiny spot in each video games since singing his 10-day deal. In a weird flip of occasions, Wilson wasn’t in a position to clear protocols till the second half, however he made probably the most of his alternative scoring 9 factors in 13 minutes. The Raptors requested him to be the first defender on Embiid, which is an insanely tough process even for veteran forwards, however Wilson did simply sufficient to spare Siakam or Boucher from that task, which stored them from fouling out. Offensively, Wilson has slot in seamlessly, enjoying inside the movement of the sport and cashing in when he is open, whereas not attempting to overextend himself in an effort to showcase himself. The Raptors do have an open roster spot in the event that they wish to preserve Wilson on a longer-term foundation, however it could put them barely over the luxurious tax and pressure them to make a transfer later within the 12 months to shed wage.

10. Fred VanVleet seems to be near a return as properly. VanVleet expressed confusion over the league’s ever-changing protocols, and was in the end dominated out of this sport, however Nurse stated afterwards that his place to begin guard is near returning. The Raptors have but to win a sport with out VanVleet this season, they usually typically wrestle when he’s on the bench, so simply including him to the combination can be an enormous bonus. VanVleet’s assist defence, particularly his knack for digging down within the put up in opposition to post-up gamers, was simply as missed as his outdoors taking pictures and general play creation on offence.

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