1 stud and 1 dud from physical Raptors loss against Mavericks

DALLAS, TEXAS - JANUARY 19: OG Anunoby #3 of the Toronto Raptors shoots against Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks (Photo by Tim Heitman/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TEXAS - JANUARY 19: OG Anunoby #3 of the Toronto Raptors shoots against Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks (Photo by Tim Heitman/Getty Images) /

Nick Nurse and the Toronto Raptors played two of the best teams in the league in the Suns and Heat during the last two weeks, but both of those matchups ended in defeat. A road game against Luka Doncic and the white-hot Dallas Mavericks likely wouldn’t give OG Anunoby, Chris Boucher, and the rest of the squad the reprieve they wanted.

The Raptors were clearly tired considering the fact they are on a long road trip, and Dallas was able to attack them at the rim in the early parts of this contest. Toronto was able to match them blow for blow until a third-quarter run gave Dallas a noteworthy advantage heading into the final stanza.

Toronto managed to claw back into it, but they fell 102-98 thanks to some poor in-game awareness. With some odd shot attempts in the last few minutes and some rookie growing pains on defense from Scottie Barnes, Doncic’s 41 points were enough to give Dallas the win.

Toronto had their fair share of duds tonight, with one, in particular, standing out. However, they put together a solid effort against a contender, and they should get praised for that determination.

102. 79. Final. 98. 81

Chris Boucher had a solid game for the Toronto Raptors.

The Raptors’ stars were clearly sucking wind in the final stages of this game, but Boucher looked just as vigorous as he did prior to this trip. With Toronto depending on a select few standouts to carry them with Gary Trent Jr. injured, Boucher stepped up to the plate and did his job.

Boucher finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds off of the bench in this one, outplaying starter Precious Achiuwa.

Boucher was one of the few Raptors who was efficient with his shots and was clamping some of the best Dallas interior scorers. After a few up and down games to start the year, he is finally starting to get into a groove for this team.

While he had some peculiar moments down the stretch, he can be satisfied with his overall performance as a scorer and rebounder. While trade rumors keep circling him, he’s doing everything he can to convince Toronto he is worth holding on to this season.

Nick Nurse handicapped the Toronto Raptors tonight.

I could’ve easily gone with Barnes, who helped take himself out of the game early due to foul trouble, or Achiuwa, who looks lost on offense, in this spot. Fred VanVleet was clearly shooting with heavy legs for most of the game.

Nurse takes the cake for the second consecutive game, however. Using a seven-man rotation in Toronto’s fourth game in six nights is not the way to go about devising a game plan. Barnes not closing out on Doncic was a bad move, but Nurse set this team up for failure with his playing time allotments.

Boucher and Justin Champagnie were the only players to come off of the bench in this game, making this the second game in three nights where names like Yuta Watanabe, Dalano Banton, and Svi Mykhailiuk were inactive.

Nurse doesn’t exactly have a great selection of bench players to lean on, but going with this sort of rotation is how you run veteran players into the ground before the postseason comes around. Hopefully, these last two losses will convince him to rethink this strategy.

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