Raptors get back on early season roller coaster in win over Sixers

It is the nature of this Raptors beast that things are going to be good and then bad, good and then bad, good again, bad again.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

There will be ups and downs from game to game, setbacks that interrupt the game from room to room. The Raptors will look like a great team because of a string of possessions at one point and five strangers at others.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Things should get better over time, when the rotation stabilizes and the roster is consistent game-to-game. But until then, trials and tribulations will have to be faced.

“The guys come in, the guys come out, (it happens) with injuries and so forth,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said Thursday night. “Maybe with the youth of our team, that is interrupted a little faster. We’ll have to smooth it out as we go here. “

Thursday’s 115-109 win over the Sixers in Philadelphia was the season in the microcosm; The Raptors were inspired by stages, only adequate in others, and had trouble at times. But they still snapped a three-game losing streak to improve to 7-6 on the season.

“You see, we played really hard, we were flying, and when we take that energy and hold it for a while, then we’ll be in the game and we’ll have a chance,” Nurse said.

“I think the ball came in a lot more tonight than (in Boston on Wednesday) and that fueled that energy, I think. (We had) a lot of offensive rebounds again, another good sign of our energy.

“A lot of good things just from the hard game.”

Fred VanVleet led all the Raptors with 33 points, including six triples, in a win over Philadelphia on Thursday.

A tremendous third quarter, sparked by Fred VanVleet and Scottie Barnes, followed a regular first half. And Chris Boucher, who had been disappointing all season, exploded for a 17-point, six-rebound night that kept Toronto in the game.

“Eventually I had to get a little bit into the rhythm,” said Boucher. “It’s just a way of thinking … I think today was a big step for me to find that confidence again and realize the way I have to play.”

Gary Trent Jr. and Fred VanVleet’s 3s in the final 40 seconds, after Toronto had gone almost three minutes without a point, were the daggers the Raptors threw. They both received assists from OG Anunoby, whose passing skills have greatly improved this season.

VanVleet finished with 32 points to lead Toronto and Tyrese Maxey led Philadelphia with 33.

The Raptors fell short of the victory, particularly as they finished the game with an 8-0 run to complete consecutive games in Boston on Wednesday and Philadelphia on Thursday.

It has been a rather uneven start to the season, a great period of elimination for all but the best teams in the NBA, and an especially difficult time for a group that has been as disturbed as the Raptors have been.

Pascal Siakam missed 10 games, played two and sat down Thursday to rest his surgically repaired shoulder. Precious Achiuwa, still a very young player learning the game, started for the Raptors, then came off the bench, and then started again against the Sixers. Scottie Barnes has been one of the best rookies in the league, but he’s still learning the extent of his talent. Dalano Banton has earned reserve point guard duty – “I should play him more, he seems to play well every time I throw him,” Nurse said – but he’s a rookie who, by definition, will have ups and downs.

It hasn’t been exactly chaotic, but it has been weird, and it takes time to get it all right.

“We have to do some things better: our spacing, cutting, finishing fast,” Nurse said. “I think there is an area six to nine, 10, 12 feet where we are getting clearance. Those are really viable shots. We need to shoot a higher percentage on those. Stay with it. I’m excited.”

It can be a bit frustrating in those bad times and frustrating because there has been little stability in the roster at the beginning of the long season.

Players get used to a group and it disappears; they get used to another and the old man returns.

There’s no one to blame, it’s something teams have to work on. And the younger the group, the generally longer the working period.

“I don’t think it’s necessary to talk about everything, but, at the same time, I think it’s just a matter of having a unit that hasn’t played much together and likes to know where we are going to attack and where we are going to attack. the takes are really going to come out and find a rhythm and a flow together, “VanVleet said this week.

“And I think we will get there. But we have to make a concerted effort to play for each other … and try to create good takes. “


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