Pascal Siakam and the Toronto Raptors won 48 games last season. Very few picked them to win that many games at the start of the prior campaign. Scottie Barnes wasn’t expected to play as well as he did at the start of the season, but many could see he had the potential to be special after opening night.
This is year two for the reigning rookie of the Year. Pascal Siakam started the season on the court, not cheering on the bench. The vibes were…off ever so slightly. The Raptors want to help us forget about that playoff series against the Sixers, and they did an excellent job of doing so.
Toronto defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 108-105 in a back-and-forth game that saw the Raptors cough up an 11-point lead yet come back and win thanks to a dominant fourth quarter. A strong final quarter from Siakam and O.G. Anunoby was enough to give Toronto the dub.
There were many reasons to come away impressed with the Raptors during their opening night triumph. Here are three takeaways from the game that were made clear and obvious in Toronto’s slugfest against one of the best teams in the East.
3 takeaways from the Toronto Raptors win over the Cavaliers.
3. The Raptors are worth watching for their defense alone
The Raptors are a long and athletic team that often shows up on the defensive end and on fast breaks. This team can get their hands into passing lanes, take the ball away, then race to the other end of the court. That alone can make them appointment viewing.
Their ability to close out on shooters is scary. One second you are lining up your shot, and then the ball is heading to the stands one second later. Many NBA teams don’t even have to worry about this kind of closing speed, but they better be cognizant when they play the Raptors.
The Toronto Raptors have a great defense.
The Raptors blocked three shots on Wednesday and stole the ball 15 times. None of the other teams in the league had more than 12 steals over the NBA’s first two days. Toronto confused and befuddled a Cavs squad that lost Darius Garland early in the game due to injury.
This team should be entertaining to anyone who is a fan of defense, effort, and hustle. I think their defense alone is worth our time, as has been proven over the last few seasons. Project 6-9 is in full effect this season, and the early results are encouraging.