Takeaways from the Toronto Raptors blowing out the New York Knicks

Toronto Raptors - Pascal Siakam (Photo by Mark Blinch/NBAE via Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Pascal Siakam (Photo by Mark Blinch/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
(Photo by Mark Blinch/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The bench mob continued its rise, but in a different way.

Since the injuries to Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka, the bench went from a no-show to a go-go. In previous games, it seemed that the bench was reliant on the energy provided by the starters. For the game against the Knicks, however, the opposite seemed to play an effect on the starters.

Terence Davis, Chris Boucher, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson all played more than 23 minutes apiece and they played well into their roles. Additionally, Davis, Boucher, and Hollis-Jefferson also garnered some of the highest plus-minuses on the team with plus-24, plus-26, and plus-21, respectively. The only player who had a higher plus-minus was the silent serpent, OG Anunoby, with plus-29.

Of course, with the starters sitting out the fourth quarter, this data can be skewed. But, by the eye test, they seemed to provide a spark when things weren’t humming as for the starters. This, mind you, is a significant change than we expected coming from the preseason; not only do the Toronto Raptors have a bench that can hold leads, they have one that can get one themselves.

Particularly, Hollis-Jefferson is seemingly fitting in well with the team. Before the season, it was unclear where he would play since he has a woeful 3-point shot. Tonight, we found him taking down rebounds, gathering missed shots, and putting them back. Of his four rebounds on the night, three of them were offensive boards. The extra opportunities help immensely whether or not he’s alongside a couple of the starters or the totality of the bench.

In short, the bench is exuding confidence. Davis even went out of his way to remind RJ Barrett that he, too, could be in the conversation for Rookie of the Year by posting 15 points, five assists, and four rebounds on 6-for-13 from the field and 3-of-8 from outside the 3-point arc.

But, most importantly, the bench looks like they’re having fun — and that may take them further than imaginable.