1 stud and 1 dud as Gary Trent Jr, Raptors lose tough game to Pacers

Gary Trent Jr. and the Toronto Raptors looked to start 2023 off the right way, as they had a winnable road game against the Indiana Pacers up on the schedule following a nice victory against the Suns. Myles Turner and Tyrese Haliburton are tall orders, but Nick Nurse was hoping “Vision 6-9” would derail the high-octane attack.

The second and third quarters could not have been more different for the Raptors. After going into halftime down by nine points after some horrid defense at the end of the first half, Toronto started the quarter on a 26-9 run and was only down by one point when the fourth quarter came around.

Unfortunately, the Toronto bench mustered just seven points all night long. A tired Raptors team lost 122-114 to Indiana, showing that the issues plaguing this roster are going to linger around this team well into 2023 unless a considerable trade is made.

The Raptors didn’t put together a team effort in this game, as the standout performances of a few tremendous players were overshadowed by several role players falling flat on their faces. One player stood out above the rest, but was noteworthy for the wrong reasons.

Toronto Raptors
Indiana Pacers

Gary Trent Jr. was dominant for the Toronto Raptors.

This honor could really only go to Trent or Pascal Siakam, as both of them carried the offense during some long dry spells early in the game. Considering what Trent brought to the table from beyond the arc, he’ll get the nod here despite the fact Siakam and Scottie Barnes were tremendous tonight.

Trent finished the night with 32 points, making this the fourth straight night in which he has topped 20 points. Now back in the starting lineup and making over 44% of his 3-pointers in his last 13 games, Trent is out to prove that he is worthy of a very enticing nine-figure contract in free agency.

The only way the Raptors are going to have any sort of respectable offensive attack in the next few weeks is by leaning on Trent and hoping that his ability to pile up points in a hurry from 3-point range can overcome a laughable bench and poor rim protection. Trent has been a consummate pro amid some chaos this season.

Malachi Flynn was very disappointing for the Toronto Raptors.

While it might seem harsh to single out Flynn, who has had a very nice stretch in the last few weeks, for his play in this game, his performance was so bad early in the second quarter that it gave Indiana momentum and played a huge part in their 37-point stanza that put Toronto in a very deep hole.

Flynn played nine minutes, yet was a -18 in his time on the floor while failing to score a point. His defense was the most concerning part of the night. Not only was he targeted frequently by Indiana, but TJ McConnell looked like Allen Iverson with how easily he was getting to the rim against Flynn.

Is this the same guy from a week ago?

With Dalano Banton already relegated to G League status and two-way guard Jeff Dowtin clearly having impressed Nick Nurse in his limited action, Flynn is well aware of the fact that he is on a short leash. Nights like this will not help his case.