Raptors blog: Kings of the back-to-backs


CHARLOTTE — It has been said many times about the Raptors in recent years, but they’ve got a lot of heart. Sometimes that’s what swings NBA games. Effort, intensity, fight.

It says a lot about the players that by battling back from a late 10-point deficit against the Hornets to win in overtime, they avoided dropping at least one game of a back-to-back for the first time since 2017. That they didn’t do it at all in 2018 or 2019 is a truly impressive feat.

“That’s a long time man. It’s resilience,” said Kyle Lowry, the ringleader and tone-setter for this group, along with Fred VanVleet (who was absent for this set).

“We’re a really resilient squad and we play extremely hard and next man up mentality. We’ve got a pile of guys hurt right now.”

Yet, they just find a way.

— It was all the more impressive because Charlotte has been great all year in “clutch time,” with the Charlotte Observer noting on Wednesday that 12 of the team’s 15 wins had come when teams were within five inside of the final five minutes of games. Terence Davis had a marvelous offensive game, but his work on Terry Rozier, who had been averaging 29 a game in January on several late shot attempts was beyond superb. It’s not easy to make the shots extremely difficult without giving the officials any chance to call a foul, which Davis made sure not to do.

— “I was really just trying to show coach that you can assign me to a guy and I’ll be fine,” Davis said when I asked about it. “I’ve played against several great guys, most of them are already in this league at college. I just want to show coach and them that I can guard in this league.”

— James Borrego is doing a nice job in Charlotte, but that was a rough finish for them after they themselves had rallied from a 10-point hole. “That was a tough loss, but keep plugging … that’s only going to make us better,” Borrego said. “We could have been better and done a better job of closing that game out. We had opportunities. It’s unfortunate but we learn from that and we move on,” he said. Borrego thought Ibaka traveled before getting fouled in the game-changing sequence.

— Ibaka rallied nicely from a bad start to the game. OG Anunoby was really good and that might be the best Patrick McCaw has played this season, other than a couple of gaffes in the third quarter. It was a good rally from his horrendous late turnover against Portland a night earlier.

— Chris Boucher didn’t have a good game, his shot wasn’t dropping, but he still showed some flashes and, overall, had a nice double-header. Against Portland, he was really solid late and helped put the Raptors in a position that should have resulted in a win.

— In that one, Boucher nailed a corner three-pointer off a nice kickout from Stanley Johnson and then a running, banked, one-hander, something we haven’t really seen before from him. He then hit a three-pointer and the Raptors appeared to be in good shape.

— Back to Portland, that’s some excellent work (for the most part) on superstar guard Damian Lillard in both games against the Blazers. Lillard had been in the Top 5 in career scoring at Toronto (minimum three appearances) but only scored 20 on Tuesday. Of course, he made those points count with a late flourish.

— Funnily enough, Carmelo Anthony was also in the top 10 when playing at the home of the Raptors, but he turned back the clock with 28. It was the most he had managed in a game against Toronto since 2014 and you can add him to the very short list of players to drop 25 or more at Toronto with three different franchises (my best guess would be LeBron James, Allen Iverson and Jamal Crawford are the only others to do that).


1. Terence Davis

2. OG Anunoby

3. Miles Bridges


1. Carmelo Anthony

2. Chris Boucher

3. Hassan Whiteside