The Raptors played the Mavericks in Dallas last night, eking out a 123-120 win after an absolutely horrid third quarter that took the entire fourth from which to recover.
Here are my takeaways from that game:
1. Luka is the ROY
There should be no question about this anymore. Luka Doncic, who somehow slipped to the third pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, is putting up record-breaking numbers across the board, and is one of a select few NBA players in history to be selected as an All-Star in their rookie year.
After recording his second triple-double (35, 10, and 12) against the Raptors, he became the only player in history to put up multiple trip-dubs before the age of 20, and the youngest player ever to put up a 35-point triple-double.
Luka was a big part of the Raptors' struggles in this game. However, if the Mavs want to see the playoffs, he'll need more help from his teammates, not one of which scored more than 14 points in the game.
2. Starters Get Heavy Minutes Once Again
The Raptors' starters saw heavy minute for the second game in a row, with each starter seeing 31 minutes or more of playing time.
This displays a slightly disturbing lack of faith in the bench unit by Nick Nurse, who has been criticized for his inability to rotate guys properly as of late.
3. Lowry Found His Shooting Stroke
After struggling mightily from behind the arc as of late, Kyle Lowry shot 5-10 from deep against the Mavs, good for 19 points on the game. Throw in his 9 assists, 5 boards and 2 blocks, and you have a great game from Lowry.
That is especially comforting considering Lowry's injury and age are serious causes for concern in his ability to maintain a high level of play throughout the duration of his contract.
The Mavs play the Knicks in Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, and the Raptors have the Bucks in Toronto on Thursday.