Toronto Raptors: Big game from Pascal Siakam not enough in heartbreaking loss to Jazz

TAMPA, FLORIDA - MARCH 19: Jordan Clarkson #00 of the Utah Jazz drives to the net as Fred VanVleet #23 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FLORIDA - MARCH 19: Jordan Clarkson #00 of the Utah Jazz drives to the net as Fred VanVleet #23 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /

The losing streak, unfortunately, continues, as the Toronto Raptors are defeated by the Utah Jazz with a score of 115-112. OG Anunoby’s return was huge in Toronto’s efforts in battling with the best team in the NBA, but it was all for naught in the end.

The intensity on defense was significantly greater than the performances from the last six games. With the catalyst of the Raptors’ offensive onslaught led by Pascal Siakam

Setting the tone early was clearly a point of emphasis, as Toronto took control of the lead and didn’t look back during the first quarter. After Donovan Mitchell had a clear line drive to the basket less than 15 seconds into the game, the Raptors flipped the switch defensively.

Utah was held to only 23 points in the first quarter, compared to Toronto’s last game against the Detroit Pistons is a huge improvement, which they allowed 37 points in the first.

Pascal Siakam led a valiant effort from the Toronto Raptors

The lead would remain in favor of the team in black and gold, until the Jazz started to gain momentum during the second quarter. Jordan Clarkson became instant offense, leading Utah to a 12-0 run to give the Jazz a four-point lead. Fred VanVleet led the Raptors offensively with 15 first-half points, including an absurd half-court buzzer-beater with only 0.4 seconds left on the clock to close out the half.

Pascal Siakam has been the definition of inconsistent throughout the course of the season, however, it seemed that the former All Star starter found his groove against the Jazz. Siakam opened up the third carrying the burden offensively making a few shots to give the Raptors energy and life.

Pascal would go on to score 11 points in the third quarter and 27 on the night, almost tallying the amount of points he scored in the entirety of the Pistons game.

Malachi Flynn gave the Raptors great minutes, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Head coach Nick Nurse elected to give the rookie some more action, and definitely made the most of his time on the court. Despite the good minutes from Flynn along with the hustle from Paul Watson, Toronto found themselves down two going into the fourth.

Raptors would not give up and kept pushing

Utah’s team chemistry continued to prove to be a thing of beauty, as the Raptors found themselves playing catchup very frequently. The Jazz went on an early 9-0 run. Despite Utah going up as much as 10 points, the Raptors didn’t give up and kept the pressure on the Jazz. Toronto responded with an 8-0 run themselves, bringing them right back into the game.

Despite the Jazz taking 27 more free throws than the Raptors, they simply would not go away. Kyle Lowry took over the fourth quarter and put on a vintage K-Low performance. Whether it was knocking down three-pointers or finding his teammates for scoring opportunities, Lowry was doing it all.

Raptors found themselves holding a five-point lead with under two minutes left, thanks to the late game heroics from Lowry and Norman Powell. Coming off a career high night, Powell followed it up with a solid 17-point performance.

Donovan Mitchell would have something to say, however, going on a 5-0 run himself to tie the game. Mitchell single handily outscored the Raptors from the free throw line 15 makes to 13.

The Raptors elected to play the foul game trying to extend the time as much as possible. With 3.5 seconds Toronto had an opportunity to send the game to overtime with a three-pointer from Pascal Siakam. With a shot that summed up the Raptors season, the ball was halfway down and spilled out. A heartbreaking loss for Toronto but a valiant effort nonetheless.

The Toronto Raptors will look to snap their seven-game losing streak on Sunday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers.