The Raps Can Smell Victory

Psst..Larry O'Brien was a huge Raptor fan!

By: Veronica Harris

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Well well well. Would you look at this.. Lucas Nogueira is in the starting line up for the Raptors in their last home game of the regular season (who are having their best at home record, 34-7).After having an impressive couple past games this week it seems that Coach Casey and his staff had decided that he deserves a start.  Demar DeRozan lets his teammates take care of this one as he starts on the bench. Toronto welcomes three former Raps to the ACC Sunday night; Terrence Ross, DJ Augustin & Bismack Biyombo from the Orlando Magic.

 It’s official- the Toronto Raptors pass their franchise record back in the 2015-2016 season with (now) 58 wins in the regular season and still have two games remaining! Don’t forget Playoff basketball starts April 14th.

 (Jump Ball)

 It was raining three pointers in the 1st quarter. One after another which helped bring the Raps ahead by 11pts at the break. Nogueira put up 4pts, 2reb & 1ast before  walking off the court  half way through the 1st due to a left hand tightness and didn’t return. Fred Van Vleet had also left the game with low back tightness and would not return either.

 CJ Miles was just getting started as right before the horn he drained a three. Looking comfortable and confident-you knew it was going to be a good game for Miles and it was! Although he only finished with 3reb & 2ast, he finished with a game high 22pts(15 of those points were from beyond the arc). He’s back and he is here to stay for the playoffs.

 Of the Raps 112 points, 51 of them were from the three point line. Could this be the Raps new secret weapon?

 Turnovers in the 2nd quarter were a concern as the Magic scored 9pts off the mistakes. That may not seem like a lot but come the Playoffs and the crucial games, every single point counts. Ball movement was also a key part in Sunday night’s game. Every Raptor touched the ball and had a role in almost every bucket.

 Lowry made a circus shot spinning around getting fouled by Mario Hezonja and sinking it for the three point play putting Toronto ahead by 12pts with 3:12 to go in the first half. With a questionable foul on Pascal Siakam, Aaron Gordon heads to the line making 1/3 buckets.

 Raptors lead at the half by 11pts, 61-50.

 With 24:00 minutes to play in the game, Toronto didn’t stop playing efficient ball. OG Anunoby hits another three-pointer off the bat and following that- his next possession a one handed dunk. OG ended with 21pts, 5-8 from beyond the arc. Beating his career high of 20pts.

 It seems it may be best to have everyone on the court wearing elbow pads and helmets. Jakob Poeltl hits the floor in the 3rd quarter but eventually gets up and shakes it off.

 It was getting close late in the 3rd quarter.. a little too close for comfort when Orlando came within 4pts of the lead.  Toronto felt the heat and had to get ahead as fast as possible. Just before the Raps distanced themselves from Orlando, Aaron Gordon denied Pascal Siakam at the rim showing them it wasn’t going to be easy.

 Toronto was on fire in the 4th quarter. This is why Coach Casey and his staff were experimenting with different lineups in earlier games because come post season- this is what you want. Your starters and your bench players being able to all play with one another and perform. Ending the game with Anunoby, Lowry, Wright, Poeltl and Siakam on the court.  The team finished with 6 players with double digits. They secure the win giving everyone in the ACC a free slice of cheese or pepperoni pizza from Pizza Pizza! Mhmmm…Pizza.

Toronto heads down to the Motor City to play the Pistons Monday evening at 6:30pm looking to add to this franchise record making it 59 wins. Toronto already clinched the 1st spot in the East but are looking to make more milestones in these last two games before Playoffs.

Toronto 112- 101 Orlando