A win is a win. But tonight’s performance will have raised several questions regarding the defending champions after a rather sloppy performance vs the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Toronto Raptors snagged win number 50 of the season and finally clinched the #2 seed in the Eastern Conference after a bizarre showcasing in the Orlando bubble.

Siakam Comes Through

The Toronto Raptors entered this game coming off undoubtedly the worst loss of the season thus far. A win was definitely needed in order to restore the confidence in this Raptors squad going into a showdown against the Milwaukee Bucks. Though it wasn’t the prettiest of wins, there were some major positive takeaways from this game. Most notably, the bounce back performance from all-star starter, Pascal Siakam. Spicy P struggled big time in the first 4 games in the bubble. Averaging 15.7 points on sub par shooting splits. Tonight he stepped up big for the Raptors with 26 points which included 2 clutch contested treys to ice the game and put a resilient Grizzlies team to bed. Siakam was in his element tonight. Not just by making his perimeter shots, but by bringing back his flair and aggression near the rim that we’ve grown accustomed to seeing over the course of this season. Siakam will need to keep up his aggression if the Raptors want to be considered a favourite to come out of the east.

Overcoming A Sloppy Start

It was concerning to see the Raptors offense struggle early in this game. Shooting 1/9 from beyond the arc to start the game definitely had some of us fans scratching our heads in disbelief. But sure enough after a 20 point first quarter performance, the Raptors finally erupted for 40 points in the 2nd quarter off the back of consistent 3-point shooting. Raptors ended the game 15/39 (39%) from downtown. The Raptors defense is almost never a worry, but the question always surrounds their half court offence and their ability to make buckets on open looks. Raptors looked consistent throughout the course of this game apart from a 10-0 run made by the Grizzlies deep in this game where the Raptors did not score a field goal for a 4 minute period.

Clutch Close Out

The Raptors have closed out games consistently well this season. After the Grizzlies threatened to take over the lead following a 10-0 run deep in this game, Siakam stepped up by nailing 2 long contested triples to put the icing on the cake to close out the win. The Raptors defense really came together late as they held the Grizzlies scoreless from 2:54 to 0:33 in the 4th. 

Next Up For The Raptors

The Raptors will suit up to take on the Bucks (55-12) for an evening game in the Orlando Bubble. A good performance in this game would undoubtedly raise the Raptors confidence going into the playoffs, but don’t expect the most tactically advanced game. As both Nick Nurse and Mike Budenholzer won’t be looking to reveal too many secrets, seeing that this matchup could be a potential eastern conference finals preview.