Precious Achiuwa and the Toronto Raptors avenged their loss against the Miami Heat by way of a 98-90. That means that their record for the season now stands at 2-2, which is impressive when you consider how many players they are missing due to injury and how limited Nick Nurse’s options have been.
One man who was up for it on the night was Achiuwa, who played 34 minutes due to the absence of Scottie Barnes. He had been drafted in the first round by the Heat in 2020, but the franchise let him go just a year later as part of the deal that saw Kyle Lowry take his talents to South Beach.
Achiuwa played like a man who had a point to prove. In the previous game against the Heat, he had dropped 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds off the bench, and he took his game to the next level on this occasion.
Achiuwa managed to grab 22 rebounds, a career-high, while putting up 10 points. In the process of doing so, he made some Raptors history, becoming just the 14th player in franchise history to record at least 20 rebounds in a game and the first ever to do it off the bench.
Achiuwa had a post-game message that will get Raptors fans fired up following his historical night in Miami, as he said he is “down to beat this team any day.” Achiuwa stared Bam Adebayo down and was totally undaunted as he outperformed the standout big man.
Toronto Raptors’ PF Precious Achiuwa put in a statement performance.
Achiuwa had more points and rebounds than Adebayo in this two-game series, as Precious averaged 14.0 points and 16.5 rebounds per game. After looking like he was going to wash out of the NBA in Miami, Precious has been born anew in Toronto.
At this point in time, the Raptors’ depth is looking thin. Otto Porter Jr, brought in following his Championship-winning season with the Golden State Warriors, is expected to remain out for some more time. Barnes is also limited.
Achiuwa is not going to record 22 rebounds every night, but his ability to completely own the glass is a huge reason why the Heat capitulated late. Toronto’s 25-9 run in the fourth quarter is what helped them leave South Florida with a win and Achiuwa’s confidence at an all-time high.
Achiuwa is just the eighth player in the last 22 years to record that many rebounds off the bench.
The Raptors are not going to do much of anything this season without a rock-solid bench, and that begins and ends with Precious Achiuwa taking the steps forward that everyone expects him to make. Taking that step against a team who gave up on him and kicked him to the curb had to feel great.