What a shame. A good basketball game marred by atrocious refereeing.
Credit to a Raptors team missing Jakob Poeltl for hanging in against a talented Los Angeles Lakers team. Anthony Davis ate, as one would expect, but he got a lot of help.
Funnily enough, the most assistance came when he was defending and flopped for a crucial offensive foul call that negated a potential game-tying three-pointer by Scottie Barnes.
The NBA should use the game tape to train officials on what not to do.
Here’s the report card:
SCOTTIE BARNES: A+
Rebounded from a mediocre game with a pretty dominant effort. Barnes got jobbed more than anyone by the referees (he fouled out, yet only shot two free throws despite attacking often, which led to head coach Darko Rajakovic’s memorable rant). At times Barnes was the best player on the floor, better even than Davis or LeBron James. He certainly doesn’t shrink from the brightest of lights (remember his playoff debut before he got injured?) And that’s a great sign.
RJ BARRETT: A+
Consecutive A+ games by Barrett, who has been a revelation since joining the Raptors. He has had strong stretches at times throughout his career — the key has been he hasn’t been able to string the together — but, right now, Barrett is playing as well as he ever has. The Lakers couldn’t stop him and he also hit the glass hard.
PASCAL SIAKAM: A
Siakam is on an absolute heater for the Raptors. He has shot 48% from three-point distance over his past 15 games, an incredible mark considering he was connecting on worse than half as high a percentage the rest of the year. He also has averaged just shy of 25 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5 assists in that span. Siakam has shot a torrid 61.1% from three over his past five games, fourth-best in the NBA in that span.
IMMANUEL QUICKLEY: A
Quickley got a rough whistle too (a flagrant foul on a regular play like that, really?), but otherwise was tremendous. OG Anunoby is off to an unreal start with New York, but so too are Barrett and Quickley here. We’ll say it again: You don’t see a lot of win-win trades, but this seems like one of them. Quickley opens up so much for Toronto’s offence and it’s weird to see such a good shooter around again.
GARY TRENT JR.: B+
In a possible audition (the Lakers do love Klutch Sports clients) Trent was lighting it up. He hit 4-of-6 threes, half his shots overall and didn’t turn the ball over. Toronto’s new-look bench is thriving.
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DENNIS SCHRODER: B
Another steady Schroder effort. Fine work off the bench and his shot was falling, which is always a nice bonus. You know Schroder wanted to play well against his old team and he did. Oh, and aggregation sucks. Schroder said nothing wrong in a recent Sportsnet piece when he discussed being a bit disappointed by being taken out of the starting lineup. Which player would be happy about that? Schroder has been a pro.
THAD YOUNG: B-
The veteran stepped up and produced in a surprise spot start. Young did a lot of things well and brings veteran savvy to the lineup. He was given a tough task defensively, but did a passable job with it.
CHRIS BOUCHER: C+
Far quieter on offence after his best game of the season, Boucher still managed to collect seven rebounds in just 14 minutes. He also only committed one foul, though the three turnovers were too many. Boucher was an option to start with Poeltl out, but Rajakovic clearly wanted to keep his bench intact and insert a placeholder in Young, something Dwane Casey and Nick Nurse also did often.
INC: JONTAY PORTER
1. Scottie Barnes
2. Anthony Davis
3. RJ Barrett
HM: Pascal Siakam, LeBron James, Immanuel Quickley.