By: Josh Weinstein
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DeMar DeRozan had undoubtedly his best game of the young season, finishing with a team-high 33 points and 8 assists to help the Raptors edge the Pelicans 122-118 in a wildly entertaining game at Air Canada Centre.
DeRozan got off to a hot start, nailing his first two shots from the field, both three-pointers. Then to cap off his 12-point first quarter, he nailed a turnaround buzzer-beater with just over a second remaining. He ended up also knocking down another last-second shot right before halftime.
The big storyline heading into this game was whether the Raptors would be able to contain the lethal Pelicans frontcourt comprised of Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins. The pair entered the contest averaging a whopping 57 points, yet against Toronto they finished with just 38 points on an uncharacteristic 29 percent shooting. Credit must go out to the combination of Jakob Poeltl, Serge Ibaka, and Jonas Valanciunas. All three did a great job contesting shots and disrupting passing lanes, which made it tough for Cousins and Davis to establish a two-man game.
With Cousins and Davis having rare off-nights for their standards, Jrue Holiday took centre stage with one of the best performances of his career. He shot a ridiculous 14 for 20 (70 percent) from the field and finished with 34 points, just four off his career-high. Unfortunately for Holiday, he only scored two points in the fourth quarter as a result of being matched up against the lengthy OG Anunoby.
Kyle Lowry itched oh so close to reaching the 20-point plateau for the first time this season, but couldn’t quite get there. Lowry heated up as the game progressed after a slow first quarter, shooting an efficient 54 percent on 13 shots to finish with 18 points. What I noticed most from Lowry was how he recognized crucial moments his team needed him to score most down the stretch, and then stepped up accordingly. This was on display especially in the fourth quarter, with Lowry nailing a few clutch shots to extend the Raptors’ slim lead.
News & Notes
- Serge Ibaka made three of six attempts from beyond the arc as part of his impressive 19-point, 8 rebound performance. The Raptors shot 16 of 42 from three-point range collectively.
- Play of the game has to go to OG Anunoby. Midway through the fourth, the rook faked out Holiday in the corner, gathered momentum, then soared up over the outstretched arm of Davis.
- The Raptors next play on Sunday, November 12th against the Celtics in a highly-anticipated Atlantic division matchup.