Scottie Barnes, OG Anunoby, and the Toronto Raptors entered the beginning of the Darko Rajakovic era with tons of questions about how this team would look on both ends of the floor. Their season opener against the Minnesota Timberwolves answered some of those questions with an overall cheerful tint to it.
The Raptors pulled out a gritty 97-94 victory thanks to a tremendous defensive showing and the unveiling of a new-look offense that was much more free-flowing and effective than the scoreline would indicate. Although the game never truly got out of first gear, Toronto was able to show enough positives to pull off the win.
Between many of Toronto’s best offensive players getting in on the passing frenzy and a defensive performance that limited Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert to a combined 34 points, fans have to be extremely happy with the overall performance Torontoput a lot of good things on tape.
Rajakovic’s first win was a bright spot for many connected to the organization, even if there were a handful of players hoping their subpar individual showings could be thrown in the trash. Which Raptors provided highlights against the Wolves? Which ones were the lowlights?
Winners and Losers from Toronto Raptors Opening Night win vs. Timberwolves
Winner: OG Anunoby
While Scottie Barnes put up tremendous all-around numbers, and Dennis Schroder put up numbers that no Raptor debutante since Kawhi Leonard had reached, it was Anunoby who was the star of the show tonight. On both ends of the floor, he looked totally comfortable in Rajakovic’s attack.
After some early struggles with corraling Minnesota’s emerging superstar Anthony Edwards, Anunoby played a big part in limiting him to just 14 points after the first quarter and ending up with an 8-27 shooting night. When he had the ball in his hands, OG let it fly.
OG Anunoby was terrific for the Toronto Raptors.
Anunoby finished this game with 20 points and six rebounds while making seven of his 13 shots from the field and four of his nine 3-pointers. Anunoby playing bully ball has always been an attractive offensive option due to his size, but he has quietly become one of the East’s best 3-point shooters on the wing.
Anunoby shot well in the last few years under Nick Nurse but never had the volume needed to cement his case as an elite sniper from range. This game could be the start of a breakout season that sees his status within the league improve as his bank account continues to grow.