Toronto Raptors: Top 5 performances from an impressive week 3

Toronto Raptors - Norman Powell (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Norman Powell (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors – Fred VanVleet (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

2. Fred VanVleet

Opponent: Los Angeles Lakers

Stat line: 23 points, 7 rebounds, 10 assists, 2 steals

With Kyle Lowry watching from the sidelines all eyes were on Fred VanVleet as he was making his first start at point guard this season. And what a start it would be, going against LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and the Los Angeles Lakers on the road.

But the pressure was nothing new for VanVleet, he played horribly to start the 2019 playoffs, had a baby boy, and still came back with epic Eastern Conference Finals and NBA Finals performances. He knows how to play under pressure and showed that again in this game.

VanVleet started the game strong, stealing passes from James and Davis within the first two minutes of the game. He did most of his damage in the first half, playing patiently and looking for his teammates while not being afraid to score when needed. After halftime VanVleet 14 points, four rebounds and five assists.

The 2nd half looked similar for VanVleet as he took a step back scoring-wise but continued to generate by dishing to his teammates for open looks. He scored 10 points and dished five assists during the second half, while only turning the ball over one time. He didn’t shoot with the same efficiency as he did before the break. However, he was critical in helping the Raptors hold on to their comeback victory in the final few minutes.

VanVleet has shown improvement from last season, particularly in an increased role, starting every game thus far. His shooting has been erratic as he currently sits at just 36-percent from the field, even after the Lakers game. But the talent and mentality are there and he showed it tonight. With Lowry out for 3+ weeks, VanVleet could make a lot of noise around the league.