The High 5 is where I give my reaction to the night’s games. This includes a look at the players who made a difference in the outcome, some additional notes and unique details that caught my attention.
The Thumb (Feel of the Game)
The Nets have been a thorn in the Raptors side for years. Coach Atkinson may not have the best talent in the league, but the Nets will give you an honest, fundamentally sound effort every game. Toronto showed their class tonight in a dominating performance. It was a high scoring affair but, in the end, the Raptors were just too much for the Nets. Toronto rolled to victory to extend their winning streak. Toronto 122 Brooklyn 105.
The Index (The Leader)
Kyle Lowry played like a true floor general showing excellent command of the offense. One of the most underappreciated part of his game is how he gets his big men easy looks. Kyle was moving the ball well tonight, leading the Raptors with 8 assists to go with 4 points, 2 rebounds and a steal. He knows exactly where his players want the ball on the catch. I would still like to see him look for his offense more and he gave up a lot on defense but tonight, Toronto will take the good with the bad for the win.
The Middle (The Enemy)
D’Angelo Russel seems to love playing against Toronto. He willed his team to an overtime win the last time these teams met. Tonight, he continued his strong play to lead the Nets with 24 points on 10/19 from the field to go with 6 rebounds, 9 assists and a steal. I am very curious to see where his career leads after this season. Will he be a part of Brooklyn’s future? He has the skills to be a solid asset for any team.
The Ring (The X Factor)
Serge has come up with big plays in the last few games to swing momentum for Toronto, usually highlighted by a visceral war cry. Tonight was no different as he had several big man buckets, intimidating defense and silky mid range jumpers. Ibaka finished with 14 points on 7/15. He also added 9 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 emphatic block. Serge is easily having his best season since he went to the finals with OKC.
The Pinky (The Unsung Hero)
Greg Monroe should get some love tonight for being ready to contribute whenever his number has been called. The Moose stepped up big off the bench with 10 points on 4/8 shooting to go with 8 rebounds and 2 assists. Monroe has been a great example of a contributing vet that understands his role. His influence on this team is much more than what shows up on the stat sheet.
Player of the Game
Kawhi Leonard is an absolute match-up nightmare. His offensive arsenal is so deep that its essentially pick your poison for defenders. His team chemistry continues to grow which has helped improve his passing numbers. He showed great trust in his teammates and was dominant in limited minutes. Leonard lead the Raptors with 20 points on 9/18 to go along with 11 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal in just 3 quarters of work.
- Still Fly- The Raptors wore their white City jerseys tonight. I think these are my favourite version of the Raptors alternates. The Nets played in their “Notorious B.I.G.” inspired City jerseys. Both teams looked good.
- Former friends – Former Raptors DeMarre Carroll aka Swag Daddy and Ed Davis are putting in work for the Nets. Shout out to Brooklyn General Manager Sean Marks, who also had a short stint in Toronto as a player.
- Its the little things – I appreciate the attention to accessories. The Nets matched the colour of their arm sleeves with their City jersey patterns and Coach Nick Nurse rocked a gold tie to complement the Raptors white and gold jerseys.
- Learning from others- Fred VanVleet has picked up Lowry’s pick and roll bounce pass, Leonard has emulated Lowry’s pitch a-heads and OG has picked up Siakam’s coast to coast attacks.
- Failed potential – Kenneth Faried was once a monster on the glass with rebounds and highlight reel dunks. He looked like a shell of his former self in garbage minutes. Here’s hoping he finds his game soon, he was always fun to watch.
The Raptors face the Washington Wizards on Sunday. The Wizards are still struggling to find their identity amidst trades and injuries. This may look like another win on paper, but beware, this has all the makings of a trap game.