Scottie Barnes and the Toronto Raptors defied both the oddsmakers and even some of the more optimistic fans out there on Wednesday night, as they managed to beat down Damian Lillard and the Milwaukee Bucks by a shocking 130-111 scoreline.
While Pascal Siakam led all scorers with 26 points, OG Anunoby was a perfect 7-for-7 from the field, and both Dennis Schroder and Jakob Poeltl finished with double-doubles; Barnes stole the show. His offensive improvement under Darko Rajakovic is clear and obvious.
Barnes recorded 21 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, and two blocks despite lining up against superstars like Lillard and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Dame came away from this game thoroughly impressed with Barnes’ ability as a two-way threat.
“He’s got extreme potential,” Lillard said, via Aaron Rose of Sports Illustrated. “Obviously if he shoots the ball the way he shoots it tonight, that’s another weapon that he has to his game. But the size, the versatility, you know, he handles, he rebounds, he defends, he does everything. When you’ve got a guy like that. As long as he continues to get better it’s going to be trouble for a lot of people.”
Damian Lillard was very impressed with Toronto Raptors star Scottie Barnes.
Barnes is averaging 20.8 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per game during his first five contests this season. With 2.4 blocks per game, the all-around, stat-stuffing nature of what he can be at his absolute peak is starting to hit home, and the results have been tremendous.
Barnes’ improvement as an efficient scorer and overall shooter has been the biggest cause for excitement around the Raptors, as he is making more than half his shots and nailed 42% of his 3-pointers despite a lack of spacing on the roster and a steadily increasing volume of shots.
Barnes has had a ton of success operating from the post, as his unique physical build makes it difficult for teams to really square up against him. If they do, he has been able to find open teammates with his terrific passing ability. No wonder a player who has been around the block as much as Lillard is so impressed with what Barnes is doing.
It will take some serious discipline and execution for Barnes to be able to sustain his hot start and continue evolving into the player Toronto thinks he can be at his best, but the fact he has been able to secure such an important co-sign on his talent is impressive.