Toronto Raptors top five performances from an exciting week two

Toronto Raptors - Fred VanVleet (Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Fred VanVleet (Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors – Serge Ibaka (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images) /

Last week, the Toronto Raptors went 2-1 against three teams which made the playoffs last season. What five performances stood out the most?

The Toronto Raptors didn’t blow anyone away with their performance last week. They finished 2-1, a respectable but not overwhelming figure. They also lost their primetime Eastern Conference rematch, against the Milwaukee Bucks.

But a winning record against three opponents who all made the playoffs last season is nothing to sneeze at. The top of the Eastern Conference standings looks more competitive than first expected, so every win matter. In order to accumulate those wins, you need some big time individual performances.

When asked to compile a top five performances of the week, most people will drift towards performances where a player scores 30+ points or has a triple-double. Truth is, there is a lot more to the game than fancy counting statistics.

Defense, setting screens, and doing all the little things that are needed to win the game matter just as much as an impressive statline. Granted, it’s not as if putting up monster numbers is hurting your case. It’s an art not a science, finding the performances which impact winning in the greatest way possible.

So what were the top five Raptor performances over the past week?

5. Serge Ibaka

Opponent: Detroit Pistons

Stat line: 19 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 32 minutes, +7

The Toronto Raptors were facing a tough matchup against Andre Drummond. He was fresh off an 18/18 game was looking like he was ready to feast again with Blake Griffin out. Marc Gasol started this game but was getting dominated early on, allowing Drummond to score six quick points and drawing two fouls on Gasol in the first seven minutes of the game.

With the Raptors only up by one, Serge Ibaka checked in to provide a scoring spark off the bench. And boy, he did not disappoint. Ibaka got off to a quick start, scoring seven straight points while not allowing Drummond to score for the rest of the quarter.

With Gasol picking up his third foul in the second quarter, the Raptors needed Ibaka to check back in on short rest. Again he stepped up to the plate, scoring another eight points that quarter and holding Drummond scoreless in the process.

With Ibaka setting the tone on both ends, at halftime the Raptors had all the momentum and ran away with the game in the 3rd quarter. In the end, they easily defeated the Detroit Pistons 125-113.

Ibaka’s spark off the bench scoring 15 points and limiting Drummond to six points in the first half allowed the Raptors to build a decent lead and propel them to an easy win.