Grades from the Toronto Raptors close loss to DeRozan and the Spurs

The Toronto Raptors had good news with the returns of Norman Powell and Pascal Siakam but ultimately fell to the Spurs 105-104 in a down-to-the-wire battle.

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Kyle Lowry #7 of the Toronto Raptors  (San Antonio Spurs won 105-104) (Photo by Anatoliy Cherkasov/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The Toronto Raptors are struggling, now losers of three of their last five games but things are still looking positive moving forward. The biggest reason for this positivity moving forward is that Sunday night marked the return of Raptors' star Pascal Siakam, who had been out for 11 games with a groin injury and guard Norman Powell, who has provided a solid scoring punch all season.

Early on Siakam showed no signs of rust as he dominated the opening frame and the Raptors raced out to an early lead before the Spurs free throw advantage really started to chip away at the Toronto Raptors lead.

With Siakam cooled off, Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka, and Powell did the best they could ahead. Once the Spurs finally did pull ahead, it was the aforementioned trio of Raptors that used a 3-point barrage to make this a down to the wire finish. But although the Raptors' shooting pulled them back into things late, Siakam ultimately couldn't lead them to the win, missing on two looks late. One shot was an open layup attempt at the rim that could have tied it and the second, a long heave that would have won it but was off by a decent amount.

This loss stings not because the Spurs are some awful team but because the Toronto Raptors at one point possessed an 18-point lead. But with a few days off before heading to Oklahoma City to take on the Thunder, Nick Nurse and Co. have plenty of time to review the film and fine-tune the little things to get back on track. So with the Raptors looking one step closer to full strength, how did everyone grade in the tough loss to Toronto's former superstar talent?

Starters Grades

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OG Anunoby #3 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Anatoliy Cherkasov/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Kyle Lowry

Kyle Lowry

Point Guard | Toronto Raptors
B+
Lowry showed out in this one with a big-time 16-point, 15-assist double-double. He didn't shoot well from the field (5-for-15) but he was solid on defense, chipped in two steals and three defensive rebounds and stepped up when Toronto needed him to. He hit a big-time, pull up 28-foot 3-point shot to bring the Raptors within one point with under six seconds left in the game. Unfortunately, the Raptors wouldn't get any closer but Lowry's performance made a late comeback a possibility.
Norman Powell

Norman Powell

Shooting Guard | Toronto Raptors
B-
Sunday was also the first game back from injury for Norman Powell as well, and he picked up right where he left off. Powell continued the best offensive season of his career with 20 points in 31 minutes. Powell's shooting is a boon to the Toronto offense, as it gives defenses something to think about every time they're about double team or dig down on Siakam in the paint. Though Powell was excellent as a scorer (four-for-seven on 3-pointers) he did give back a decent amount of those points on defense, struggling to contain Spurs' guard Derrick White. It was a one-way performance for Powell who can build off of this as he gets back into a rhythm.
OG Anunoby

OG Anunoby

Small Forward | Toronto Raptors
B
OG Anunoby was given the initial task of guarding DeMar DeRozan, something that Raptors faithful knew would be a tough task regardless of the game flow. Anunoby made DeRozan work hard for every basket he scored on him and made him miss several including a key miss with the scored tied at 100. Anunoby chipped in eight points, two assists, and finished the night 10 on the floor.
Pascal Siakam

Pascal Siakam

Power Forward | Toronto Raptors
C+
Pascal is being graded on a scale in this one since it was his first game back from a prolonged absence due to a groin injury. In a surprising  30 minutes of game action, Siakam collected 15 points, five rebounds, and four assists. The issue—a very normal and expected one considering how long he was out—was that Siakam seemingly burned himself out early. He came out and reminded NBA fans why he was a big part of an NBA Championship team. He scored 12 points on five-for-seven shooting in the first quarter, showing off his handle, 3-point shot, and off-the-dribble game. Siakam would only go on to scored three points rest of the way and missed a layup that would've tied the game late in an 0-for-four 4th quarter performance.
Serge Ibaka

Serge Ibaka

Center | Toronto Raptors
A
Serge Ibaka made some personal history in this one, collecting his career-best 8th straight double-double. Ibaka led the Raptors with 21 points, grabbed 14 rebounds, and most importantly, he provided the element of spacing the floor as well. He went 50-percent from the 3-point line on six attempts and will probably need to be more aggressive on offense as long as guard Fred VanVleet is out. He isn't as fleet of foot as he used to be but he blocked one shot and had an effect on many more. Ibaka is averaging 20.2 points per game over his last five games and appears to be heating up from 3-point range.
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Bench Grades

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Toronto Raptors - Patrick McCaw (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

Patrick McCaw

Patrick McCaw

Shooting Guard | Toronto Raptors
F
Patrick McCaw played 20 minutes and did not have much of an impact at all. He scored two points on three field goal attempts. McCaw missed both of his 3-point shots and finished the night -18 from the floor, by the far the worst plus/minus of anyone on the Raptors.
Terence Davis

Terence Davis

Shooting Guard | Toronto Raptors
D+
The rook had an off night on Sunday. He went 0-for-6 from the field, missing five 3-point shots in the process. Davis made some solid contributions in the rebounding department, kept the ball movement, and played decent defense. But all in all, this was a tough game for Davis.
Matt Thomas

Matt Thomas

Shooting Guard | Toronto Raptors
A-
Matt Thomas played 16 minutes to provide the Raptors with his usual dose of floor spacing and offensive gravity. Thomas is, of course, no defensive force, so he will often be judged on his accuracy alone. With that being said, Thomas shot 40-percent from the 3-point line on Sunday night. He added a rebound to his six points scored on the night.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson

Power Forward | Toronto Raptors
B-
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson didn't have the greatest shooting night in the world, going 3-of-9 from the field, finishing with nine points, six rebounds, one steal, and one block. As always, RHJ was active on the glass on both ends, sticking himself between the defender and the ball on numerous occasions, and being a nuisance in the paint.
Chris Boucher

Chris Boucher

Power Forward | Toronto Raptors
D
Boucher played a brief 10-minute stint and he was extremely active though not extremely effective. He scored seven points on five shots, grabbed three rebounds, one assist, and a steal. But he somehow racked up four fouls in that short amount of time. Boucher needs to really, really needs to work on defending without fouling. He is up to 4.5 personal fouls per 36 minutes on the season and games like Sunday night show how he is in that situation.
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Head Coach and Opponent

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Toronto Raptors - Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

Nick Nurse

Nick Nurse

Head Coach | Toronto Raptors
A-
Nick Nurse was just as upset as anyone at the lack of foul calls for Toronto but he had to be pleased with his team's effort in their first game with a few key pieces back in the lineup. Nurse had stated earlier in the week that Norman Powell was the closest to anyone of coming back, so seeing him go for 20 points in the start was no doubt great for Nurse. He was more non-committal as to the statuses of Pascal Siakam and Marc Gasol, and of course, Siakam ended up playing 30 minutes on Sunday. While Nurse may have been trying to simply get Siakam back to being used to the speed of the NBA game, he wilted down the stretch. One can't help but wonder if Nurse would've been better off going small, sans Siakam, for stretches. No matter how much we pick apart Nurse's decision-making, the Raptors were a Siakam missed bunny away from sending Sunday night's game into overtime.
San Antonio Spurs

San Antonio Spurs

(17-21) | Western Conference
A
DeMar DeRozan always gets love when he comes back to Toronto ad Sunday night was no different. DeRozan got a standing ovation and a tribute video, and he played like a man who was determined to put on a show. He led the game with 25 points, and also chipped in eight rebounds, four assists, two steals, and one jaw-dropping dunk on Boucher's head. The Spurs played old-school, bully ball against the Raptors. San Antonio only hit seven 3-pointers compared to 17 3-point makes for Toronto. But the Spurs finished the night with a massive 30-11 advantage in free throw attempts. Their physicality and some timely shot-making down the stretch from Marco Belinelli was enough to give the Spurs the tough win at Scotiabank Arena.
Next: The Toronto Raptors should be on the Canadian currency

The Toronto Raptors will play next at the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday, January 15, at 8pm EST. Make sure to check out our grades and takeaways after every game at RaptorsRapture.com.