By: Josh Weinstein
The Toronto Raptors (14-7) bench unit combined for 50 points, including a career-high 18 from Jakob Poeltl in the team’s 120-115 over the Indiana Pacers (12-11) at Air Canada Centre.
This game was a shootout from the opening tip, with Victor Oladipo torching the Raptors all throughout the first half. There really was no answer for the all-encompassing shooting guard, as he scored 20 points in the first 24 minutes. He would end up finishing the game with a team-high 36 points on 64 percent shooting. While keeping Oladipo in check proved problematic, the Raptors did a solid job of containing the rest of the Pacers offensive attack. Excluding Oladipo’s production, Indiana shot 39 percent from the field.
Boy, how fun is the Raptors bench?
There are only a few teams in the Association that can call upon its reserves to totally alter the momentum of a game on a regular basis. Of those teams, Toronto’s reserves are arguably most important to the team’s success. The bench owns a league-best 12.0 net rating, a 110.5 offensive rating – which ranks second only behind the Golden State Warriors – and the third-lowest defensive rating at 98.4. By every indication, the Raps reserves are showing no signs of regression; if anything, the unit is just getting stronger with every passing game.
Jakob Poeltl sunk all eight of his field goal attempts in one of his best games of the season, while Fred VanVleet and Norman Powell combined for 21 points. Powell was matched up against Oladipo for the start of the fourth. While he didn’t completely slow him down offensively, he did match him bucket for bucket for a few possessions to help prevent Indiana from briefly retaking the lead.
DeMar DeRozan led the Raptors in scoring with 26 points, but it was the bench that once again stole the spotlight.
Toronto continues its home stand on Tuesday, December 5 against the Phoenix Suns.