O.G. Anunoby and the Toronto Raptors have been all over the place in the 2022 preseason. While they have a 32-point domination and a comeback win in which a 19-point deficit was erased on their ledger, they also lost by double digits twice. A tango with the Boston Celtics in Montreal would decide if they are above or below .500.
Toronto’s dominant defense looked very suspect against Boston in the first half, as surrendering 66 points in two quarters is not what Nick Nurse wanted to see a few days before the season opener. Luckily, the much-improved offense helped match Boston blow for blow before halftime came around.
In a mirror image of the absolutely off-the-rails first game in Boston, this game came right down to the wire. Leading by three with under three minutes left to play in the contest, Toronto allowed Boston to come back and go to overtime once again. Some clutch overtime baskets helped Toronto come out on top by a score of 137-134.
The Raptors ended the preseason with a very nice 3-2 record featuring two overtime victories against a division rival. A few players played huge roles in helping Toronto get that third victory, while some more experienced members of the club were largely invisible for good chunks.
O.G. Anunoby was on fire for the Toronto Raptors.
Anunoby often gets lost in the shuffle when this Raptors team is discussed, as his lack of pizzazz often gets him relegated to fourth or fifth option offensively. While it was just the preseason, Anunoby was so dominant against the starters that Nick Nurse had to realize what a tremendous season O.G. is on pace for if he keeps this up.
Anunoby recorded 25 points in the first half, making 10 of his 15 shots and going a perfect 4-4 from the 3-point line in the first two stanzas. By ending the half with a tremendous leaping block on a Grant Williams jumper, Anunoby showed that his ability to improve his game will help him be an irreplaceable member of this team.
O.G. would finish with 32 points on 13-21 shooting.
While many of the Raptors’ best players spent the preseason shaking the rust off, Anunoby has been one of the few consistent scorers. There are plenty of questions this Raptors team must find an answer to in the next few weeks, but Anunoby’s play is not one of them.
Precious Achiuwa has had better games for the Toronto Raptors.
Achiuwa has generally been solid in the preseason, showing that many of the offensive tools he added to his toolbox after the All-Star break have remained in the new year. Unfortunately, some of his issues with finishing, specifically at the rim, have continued to eat away at his productivity.
Achiuwa did make 10 of his 13 free throws, but threw up a 4-16 night shooting the ball. The Nigerian big may have had a brilliant dunk early in this game and made some clutch shots late, but the Raptors should be more concerned with his touch around the rim at this point. If that trait stagnates, things could get ugly.
Precious is without question a better player now than he was in Miami or at the beginning of last year, but he could easily get squeezed out of offensive responsibility in a crowded frontcourt if he’s spitting the bit offensively. Hopefully, he gets back on track against the Cavaliers in the opener.