The Raptors played the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night in what was a huge game for both teams.
Here are my takeaways from that game:
1. Kyle Lowry Had Himself a Game
Our point guard is back. Kyle Lowry had his best game of 2019 amidst trade rumours circulating him and the Grizzlies' Mike Conley. Lowry had a huge first half, and on the game, put up 20 points and 6 assists.
2. Nurse's Lineups Were Weird Again, But the Bench Played Well
Raptors head coach Nick Nurse has come under fire from Raptors fans recently for what they claim to be questionable lineup choices. The Raptors Twitter-verse is particularly upset with the amount of time Greg Monroe receives.
Against Philadelphia, Nurse played a lineup in the late stages of the third quarter that was most certainly questionable. An all-bench lineup of Fred VanVleet, Delon Wright, Norman Powell, OG Anunoby, and Monroe saw more minutes than it should have.
Luckily for Nurse, that lineup held its own against a 76ers unit comprised mainly of starters, headed by All-Stars Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Jimmy Butler.
Monroe (10 and 7), Wright (8, 5, and 4), and Powell (14 points), carried the load on offence, but Anunoby was the defensive tether of that unit. Despite the relative success that this bench unit saw last night, Raptors fans won't react kindly to seeing any more of them.
3. This Was a Huge Win for the Raptors
In a time where the Raptors' standing as a top team in the East is being question due to their record as of late (19-12 in their last 31), this win against a certified conference contender, on the road, is huge.
The 76ers knew that in order to compete for a Finals berth in the highly-competitive Easter Conference this year, they'd need a new piece. The loss to the Raptors paired with the quickly-approaching trade deadline was the shock they needed to make a deal.
Just hours after the game, the 76ers made a trade for Los Angeles Clippers All-Star, Tobias Harris.
The 76ers get a chance to test out their new starting lineup of four All-Stars and JJ Reddick against the tough-as-nails Denver Nuggets, and the Raptors hope to have JV (listed as questionable) back in action against the lowly Atlanta Hawks on Thursday.