3 Takeaways from Raptors-Nets

January 12, 2019

   The Raptors saw the Nets in Toronto for their first OVO night of the season. While the Nets have been hot as of late, winning six of their last nine, the Raptors has a strong showing in this one, turning out a complete performance from start to finish.


   Here are my takeaways from that Friday night affair:


1. The Raptors' Depth Was Big Once Again


   Just as in the matchup with the Hawks earlier in the week, the Raptors won with a dominant display of their overwhelming depth.


   In this one, 10 Raptors were in double-digit minutes, while not one of them was on the court for more than 27 minutes. Compared to most teams in the league, who have one or two superstars who average 35+ minutes per game, that's outrageous (particularly considering the presence of MVP-candidate Kawhi Leonard).


   Of those 10 guys, 8 were in double-digit scoring. These are the kinds of performances that the Raptors want to see from their bench guys, particularly leading up to the playoffs. 


2. Greg Monroe Continues to Make a Case for Himself


   Greg Monroe stepped up to replace the injured Jonas Valanciunas, and he has had some good games and some bad games.


   Monroe has had a hard time grabbing boards on the defensive end, and just defending in general, but he's been thriving on the offensive end. As a big, strong center, nicknamed "Moose", he's been playing to his strengths; bullying smaller, thinner centers down low before putting up a little hook.


   His 10 points and 8 boards in 15 minutes against the Nets showed his ability to score and rebound efficiently, and his 2 assists were both heads-up plays. 


   While he likely will play much less by the time JV returns from injury, he's at least making a case for himself to get more minutes when that does happen.


3. Kyle Lowry is not Entirely Back


   Kyle Lowry was out for a two-week stretch with a back injury, and although he returned by now, needs injections in his back.


   Having scored just 4 points in 23 minutes against the Nets and in single-digits on other occasions since returning, Lowry hasn't quite seemed himself, at least in the scoring department. As far as passing goes, it's more or less the same old Kyle. 


   In his first three games back from injury, Lowry has had 6 assists once and 8 twice. While that's slightly below his average, it's still a really good number for most point guards around the league.


   It could be a while before Lowry returns to full health, but the presence of Fred VanVleet and Delon Wright behind him will allow him to take his time in coming back.


The Raptors have the struggling Wizards on Sunday, while the Nets play the Celtics on Monday. 








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