Three takeaways from Toronto Raptors impressive win vs Thunder

Toronto Raptors - Pascal Siakam (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Pascal Siakam (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images) /

It wasn’t as easy as it should have been, but the Toronto Raptors defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder in an impressive overtime victory. What did we learn from this game?

The Toronto Raptors dominated nearly this entire game. Without Kyle Lowry, on the road, against a very impressive Western Conference team, it doesn’t matter. When the Raptors are as hot as they were in the first 32 minutes of this game, they’re nearly unbeatable.

Then, things took a turn. Toronto couldn’t hit a shot offensively, Russell Westbrook continued to feel himself, and the deficit started to shrink. Late in the fourth, the game became close. After a couple of horrific Raptor offensive possessions, it was tied.

Neither team could draw up/hit a critical shot to end the game so it went to overtime. In overtime, the Toronto locked up defensively, allowing zero points in the opening 4:15. After nearly blowing the game, they pulled out a nine-point win.

What did we learn from this game? Here are my three big takeaways.

Pascal Siakam shouldn’t surprise you anymore

Against Milwaukee, when Pascal Siakam had his first 22-point performance, it was shocking. When he went for 26 against the 76ers it was eye-opening. Now, when he drops 33 against one of the best defensive teams in the NBA, it’s somewhat expected.

Pascal Siakam is no longer the cute, “Oh look he’s learned how to dribble” experiment. He’s now a legitimate All-Star forward and one of the best 30-or-so players in the NBA. Tonight, he was guarded by elite defensive power forward Jerami Grant on one end and was tasked with guarding Russell Westbrook on the other.

He responded by being the best player on the court throughout most of the game. Pascal Siakam is ridiculous, it just shouldn’t surprise you anymore.

A terrible fourth quarter performance

As great as 75-percent of the game was, the entire fourth quarter was just as bad. Toronto ran isolation after isolation as different players took turns tossing up bricks. Kawhi Leonard struggled during the fourth, going 1-6 with two turnovers.

Kyle Lowry was out. The Thunder are a great defense. Whatever. Late in games, the offense has to be better than that.

Blame can be given both to Nurse, who continued to run the offense through Leonard isolations, and to the players, who seemed to let their foot off the gas when they thought the game was finished. When a performance is that bad, there is plenty of blame to spread.

No harm, no foul as the team’s resiliency showed in an impressive overtime performance. Still, you hope to see better fourth-quarter execution than what was displayed in this contest.

Fred VanVleet looks all the way back

Fred VanVleet has been spectacular since his return to the lineup against the Detroit Pistons. Tonight he was extremely effective, scoring 23 points on efficient shooting while dishing out six assists.

Perhaps it was the time off, but FVV looks better than ever attacking the basket. He scored an unusual five baskets within the arc tonight and created several dimes by slicing through the defense.

If VanVleet can continue this level of play as he slides back with the bench unit, he could stabilize the missing part of the Raptors rotation.

Next. Chris Bosh's most important moments with the Raptors. dark

Make sure to check out our takeaways after every game here at