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The Raptors beat has been noting for years how underrated and overlooked Kyle Lowry has been, even though those six all-star selections indicate he’s convinced at least a few people of his value. Suns coach Monty Williams is one of the most-respected people in the entire NBA, so you can bet it means something to Lowry to hear Williams speak so glowingly about him. Here’s what Williams told reporters before the game: Kyle, he’s just a beast. His awareness, his craftiness,” Williams said. “I think he’s the craftiest player in the league … Kyle is just a monster. Kyle is so important to winning.”
Lowry proved that once again by doing a little bit of everything to lead the way to another Raptors win. The six turnovers weren’t ideal, but chalk that up to first game back after a break, for the most part.
When’s the last time three Raptors had at least three blocked shots in the same game? Good question. We looked it up so you don’t have to. It was on March 27, 2018, when four! Raptors did it. Lowry had a career-best four blocks against Denver, Serge Ibaka and Jonas Valanciunas matched that number and Lucas Nogueira came off the bench to block three himself in just seven minutes. Can’t imagine the Raptors have ever blocked as many three-point attempts as they did against the Suns. Boy, can this team cover a ton of ground when it puts some of its longest athletes on the floor. Marc Gasol can block a lot of shots too, but he does it with smarts, positioning and size and isn’t going to be hustling out to the three-point line to get too many of his blocks.
None of us have any clue where OG Anunoby is going to end up as an offensive player, but it’s clear that he is already a premier defender. Very few NBAers can combine length, athleticism, anticipation, quickness and strength the way Anunoby can. Anunoby blocked four shots, tying his career-high, in 39 minutes. Anunoby’s had a handful of swarming nights this season where he gives opponents fits. One thing I’ve noticed: Many of his biggest outings have come when he plays huge minutes. When Nick Nurse lets him roll for an extended period, Anunoby has tended to reward him for it. With Ibaka in foul trouble, someone had to soak up more minutes and OG was that guy. Speaking of minutes: Only 34 minutes for Lowry was a win for Toronto with a tough game on tap against Indiana on Sunday.
Big effort from Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who gives up a ton of size to Phoenix’s behemoth centres as another part of the Ibaka foul trouble solution; The usual steadiness from Fred VanVleet; An impressive night from Terence Davis and one of the best games of the year from Pascal Siakam, who was easily the best player on the court.
1 — Pascal Siakam
2 — Kyle Lowry
3 — OG Anunoby
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