RAPTORS BLOG: Was stunning Sacramento shutdown sign of things to come or fool’s gold?

And does it matter with the NBA’s trade deadline two weeks away?

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The Raptors played an outstanding game in Sacramento on Wednesday night to kick off a long road trip. The question is though, was that the last hurrah (or one of them) for this group? Or was it enough for management to see the season through with the team intact?

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Time will tell, but it shouldn’t alter their long-term thinking. It’s great that the Raptors finally looked like the team most of us thought we’d see this season, but it’s too little too late. Though the Raptors’ defence was everywhere all at once against Sacramento, the focus still should not be on grabbing a play-in tournament spot, but rather how to be in the mix to win multiple playoff rounds year after year, the way the franchise did for so long.

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Bolstering the talent level and the assets on hand are the ways to do that. That means exploring an O.G. Anunoby deal and maybe ones for Fred VanVleet or Gary Trent Jr. too. There’s been some buzz lately that Trent might be open to signing a new deal with Toronto even though he’s been the one talked about the most all season as the likeliest to be moved. That would be fine. He’s still young, having just turned 24 a week ago. He’s clearly talented and provides dimensions the roster doesn’t have a lot of (accurate outside shooting, a lethal step-back jump shot, the ability to create offence for himself, quick hands on defence).

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And the salary cap will go way up in the coming years when the American TV deals get signed (though the regional turmoil going on down South television-wise) could temper things a bit.

We are now two weeks out from the trade deadline. Can the Raptors repeat their defensive dominance against Golden State and Portland (with Damian Lillard fresh off a 60 point game) on a back-to-back? Or was this a one-off?

Will be interesting to find out.


  • Pascal Siakam moved up the franchise leaderboard again in this one. First he moved past former fan favourite Amir Johnson on the all-time rebounding list, then Siakam jumped Antonio Davis. One could argue Siakam, Davis, Johnson and Chris Bosh are the best power forwards in franchise history. Donyell Marshall probably has the best case for joining them. Am I forgetting anyone?
  • Siakam loves facing the Kings. Two of his highest free throw games have come against them (though he didn’t need to get to the line to torch them on Wednesday) and he’s averaged 23.5 points on 53.5% shooting in his last eight games against them.
  • This was the fourth time Scottie Barnes has notched his career-high of 10 assists in a game. Two of those games have come against the Kings in the last six weeks. Like Siakam, Barnes does basically whatever he wants against Sacramento. 
  • Best weird stat of the night: VanVleet tied 7-footer Rasho Nesterovic for 20th on Toronto’s all-time blocks list. 


1 Pascal Siakam

2 Precious Achiuwa

3 Kevin Huerter

Honourable mention: Chris Boucher, O.G. Anunoby, Keegan Murray.

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