The Toronto Raptors have a very difficult schedule coming up, so taking home a win against the Sacramento Kings was imperative to make sure they stay hot on this homestand. Fred VanVleet, Scottie Barnes, and the rest of the squad were looking to once again take down a Sacramento team fresh off firing head coach Luke Walton.
After starting the game on an 11-0 run, the Raptors did not relinquish that early advantage. Toronto ended the first half with 70 points after somehow tallying 40 in just the second quarter alone.
The Raptors would finish the game on top by a score of 124-101 in a contest that was somehow not as close as the scoreline indicated. Toronto was firing on all cylinders, as even the much-maligned bench contributed with a season-high 53 points.
The Raptors only had 11 active players in this game, yet every one of them performed well. However, these three stood above the rest due to how they totally dominated Sacramento.
Scottie Barnes was dominant on both ends for the Toronto Raptors.
The Raptors have been watching Barnes uncork some extremely impressive performances throughout his rookie season, but Monday night’s showing may have been one of his most impressive. After struggling against Sacramento on the road, Barnes looked much more comfortable in this contest.
16 points, four rebounds, and two assists might not sound like jaw-dropping numbers, but Barnes was able to record an insane five blocks in the game while playing some of the best on-ball defense we’ve seen from him all year.
Going up against Harrison Barnes on the other side, Scottie looked efficient and in control while Barnes was just 1-9 from the field in 22 minutes. Barnes was one of the main reasons Toronto pulled off a wire-to-wire win.
Chris Boucher impressed the Toronto Raptors in the paint.
Boucher has started at the center for the last few games, as Khem Birch remains sidelined with a knee injury and Precious Achiuwa has had to deal with both a shoulder ailment and a stint in the health and safety protocols. Boucher went from unplayable at times to one of the best Raptors performers over the last week.
Boucher recorded 17 points on 7-10 shooting while pulling down five rebounds. Despite going up against some much bigger foes in Marvin Bagley Jr. and Alex Len, Boucher managed to hold his own.
Boucher went from a player that was unable to convert on easy looks inside to the same two-way dynamo that Nick Nurse could not stop singing the praises of in the Tampa bubble. If he sustains this production, it will be very interesting to see how often he plays when Birch returns.
Yuta Watanabe helped improve the Toronto Raptors’ bench.
You could pick any bench player to end up at this spot. Dalano Banton recorded six assists in nine minutes, Malachi Flynn amassed 14 points in a quarter, Svi Mykhailiuk provided 11 timely points after some iffy performances, and Justin Champagnie had his best game as a pro with 10 points.
However, Watanabe gets the edge for recording a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds in just 24 minutes of action. His ascension from two-way player to valued NBA contributor is complete, as he may have established himself as the best bench player the Raptors have.