The Toronto Raptors battled relentlessly against a talented Dallas Mavericks (19-10) team. After being down 83-53 with 2:55 minutes remaining in the third quarter, the Raptors persevered en route to a 110-107 victory. Evaporating the 30 point deficit marks the largest comeback of the decade as well as the largest in franchise history. The comeback was extremely impressive as Toronto was missing three key pieces. Marc Gasol, Norman Powell, rising star Pascal Siakam all being out for an indefinite amount of time.

The NBA’s last 30-point comeback occurred when the Sacramento Kings came back against the Chicago Bulls on December 21, 2009.

The Landscape Of The East

The comeback pushes the Raptors record to 21-8. This moves them into third place tied with the Miami Heat. The East remains an absolute bloodbath as the teams ranked second to sixth are separated by just a game and a half. While the Milwaukee Bucks (27-4) remain comfortably ahead of the pack the rest of the East looks to claim those coveted second and third seeds.

Top Performers

The Raptors would not comeback without Kyle Lowry. Shooting 70% (7/10) from the field and 66.7% (4/6) from beyond the arc, Lowry exploded for 20 points in the fourth quarter. The All-star guard was also responsible for 10 assists and 8 rebounds. His ability to effect the game so potently on offense as well as being an intelligent and tenacious defender sets the tone for the rest of the team to follow. He showed his leadership in Sunday’s game in spades.

 

Image result for 1-2-1-1 full court press
1-2-1-1 Full Court Press

Chris Boucher couldn’t have chosen a better night to pour in his career-high 21 points. Usually content stretching the floor, Boucher flipped the script and was in full attack mode. Constantly attacking awarded him twelve free throws which he converted to 9 points. Coach Nick Nurse utilized Boucher effectively defensively as well when the Raptors relying on a 1-2-1-1 full court press (pictured left). With his length and athleticism Boucher played the role of “disruptor” to perfection. The Mavericks were unable to get clear passes over or around the young center, leading to trap situations for the Raptors to capitalize on.

The hustle of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson has been well documented for the Raptors and it was prominent this game. His skill set allows him to match up well against the Dallas’ roster’s taller players. Hollis-Jefferson’s tenacity earned him 9 rebounds which allowed the Raptors to remain competitive in that category. Nurse effectively utilized him as the roll man in the high pick and roll. This opened up lanes for trailing players to operate or for Lowry to slash into the paint. “Hustle Man Chap” was also able to pour in a season-high 18 points in the contest.

Up Next For The Raptors

The Raptors travel to take on the Indiana Pacers (20-10) in what will be the first of three games against tough Eastern Conference teams. These upcoming games will shape the Eastern conference playoff landscape and the Raptors can either use the momentum to push ahead of the pack or fall behind. Tune into see what will be a highly competitive game tonight at 7:00 PM/EST.