The Toronto Raptors were able to take care of the New York Knicks last night, claiming a 126-98 victory. Their dominance at Scotiabank Arena has lead them to a franchise best 8-0 when playing at home. The Raptors also surpassed a NBA record thirty-third consecutive win against division rivals at home, a streak they’ve held from December 13th, 2015. The previous record of 32 wins was held by both the Golden State Warriors (October 30, 2013- April 12, 2017) and the Utah Jazz (November 15, 1996 – April 12, 1999). Their emphatic performance sees them improve to 13-4 on the season and jump to third in the Eastern Conference.

Snapping The Shooting Slump

Pascal Siakam lead the charge once again scoring a game-high 31 points in his 30 minutes of play. His production was followed by six other Raptors scoring in double digits, tying their season high of seven. Toronto has been the NBA’s best three point shooting team this season shooting 40.1% on 36.1 attempts per game and showed it last night. The Raptors were elite from distance last night, a small relief from the shooting slump the Raptors have endured over the last three games. Over that stretch the Raptors shot an abysmal 35.1% (33/94) which would rank 18th in the league. Their shooting last night served to pop that pattern as they drained a season high 21 threes on 51%. Eight of eleven Raptors hit a triple in last night’s game.

 

Raptors’ Suffocating Defence

Perhaps more impressive than their offence was their defence as they were able to hold the Knicks to an abysmal 38% from the field and 29% from three. This has been a trend for the entirety of the season. The Raptors are holding opponents to a league low 41.1% from the field. They’ve achieved this while allowing the fifth highest 92.5 field goal attempts around the league. The players are doing a phenomenal job of closing out on their opponents shooting from behind the arc and not falling for pump fakes. This serves to run their opponents off the three point line and force them to take less efficient shots or attack the paint which is filled with Raptor defenders.

Big Spain’s Big Impact

Marc Gasol’s box score numbers this season are unimpressive, especially for a player of his pedigree. His 5.8 points per game this season is a career low by a significant margin. Despite the numbers, his impact has been integral to this team’s success. Gasol has been the anchor of Toronto’s elite defence. His communication and paint protection make the lives of the opposition miserable. His ability to close out on shooters at the 3 point line while getting into passing lanes makes it hard for players to create. Gasol’s passing in the pick and roll increases the fluidity and movement of the offence.  His ability to shoot allows the Raptors to play “5-Out” offensive schemes.  This scheme opens up lanes for players like Siakam to slash through and get shots in the paint for free. He’s been a key part in the Raptors’ wins this season.

The Raptors will look to extend their win streak to six on Friday against a short-handed Orlando Magic team. Be sure to tune in on November 29th at 7:00 PM/EST to support this blue-collar Raptors team.