Raptors defence not enough for Mavs


DALLAS — The Raptors knew they were going to have to contend with Luca Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis but they weren’t really planning for a Delon Wright outbreak.

The tandem of OG Anunoby and Rondae-Hollis Jefferson did a solid job on Doncic limiting the Slovenian superstar from the field where he made just 4-of-13 shots. Later in the game the Raptors started doubling him forcing the ball out of hands but as with most superstars he still found a way to have an impact finishing with 26 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists, all but 11 points of his scoring damage coming from the free throw line.

Doncic in fact didn’t have a made field goal after the first quarter but it didn’t matter as the Mavs won this one 110-102.

Another solid effort from Toronto’s defence on yet another superstar was wasted as Porzingis, who started out poorly missing 10 of his first 13 shots started to find a little rhythm to get to 20 on the night.

But Wright, who had not scored more than 12 in a game since the second game of the year and had not been in double digits in eight games came up with a 15-point night off the bench for the Mavs on 6-of-7 shooting to help push this one in Dallas’ favour.

It was a physical game from the get-go and just got more physical as the officials let the contact go progressively as the game wore on.

The Raptors got a big night out of Norm Powell as he went 6-for-8 from behind the arc in a 26-point night and a career high 10 from Matt Thomas off the bench not to mention the steady output from Fred VanVleet that has become a given with his 26, but it wasn’t enough to offset the offence of Porzingis, Doncic and Wright.

“They are a good team and they played some good defence but I think at stretches we kind of found ourselves in a little mud and I think that had to do with the long road trip,” Powell said of Toronto’s lack of offence on the night. “Guys were ready to get home, but I think we stayed with it and fought to the end.”

Nurse, who wasn’t thrilled with the free throw differential, said the Mavs were full merit for the win.

“We weren’t quite good enough,” Nurse said. “They made some good plays but I thought we kept hanging in there and felt pretty good but the start of the fourth really hurt us to get back down.

From the start of the fourth to the three-minute mark the Mavs extended their lead from one to nine and while the Raps got that back to two later in the quarter they couldn’t sustain the comeback.

“I thought we did a good job on Doncic tonight but just couldn’t keep him off the free throw line,” VanVleet said. “Give Rondae, OG, Norm, and our bigs credit for corralling him and make him find other guys. I thought we played good enough defence, just didn’t have enough punch at the other end to give ourselves some cushion.”

Down by as many as 10 with six to go Toronto got the deficit down to four with 2:16 to go. Then they stole the inbound out of the timeout and had it down to two. The Mavericks though closed it out aggressively attacking the Toronto basket and getting to the line.

Dallas got to the line for 33 free throws to the 15 attempts the Raptors had. Nurse, as he was in Los Angeles after a similar lopsided free throw differential in the Clippers loss was not happy taking another technical midway through the fourth voicing his displeasure.

The Raps now have a day to get home and rest up before they take on Charlotte on Monday.


Dwight Powell wasn’t quite sure the question was fair. How does it change things with Canada now playing host to an Olympic qualifier this summer was the question.

“That’s close to a loaded question,” Powell said. “I hope it doesn’t change anything. Hopefully everyone wanted to be on board anyway. But I think it’s definitely added incentive, being able to play in front of the home crowd, and it’s close and all the guys I’ve played with love B.C. and any chance to get over there is always great. I think it will be great.”

Powell was one of the Canadian NBAers who couldn’t answer the call this past summer for a number of reasons. The late start to the FIBA World Championships, the massive distance with the tournament being held over in China and certainly for Powell a health concern that had to be taken into account.

“I don’t know what everyone’s individual understanding of the situation was, but I know that was one of the hardest decisions I had to make as far as my career with the national team,” Powell said of not being with Canada this past summer. “It has always been just whatever it takes, just try and get it done, but there comes a time when you have to really sit back and put things in a kind of perspective and realize there are a lot of factors in play.

Unfortunately we had a bunch of guys that didn’t feel like it was the best scheduling or timing to help out, but next year I don’t think that will be the case.

“I think for everyone it was a tough decision,” Powell said. “At the end of the day we all want to compete, we all want to make the Olympics and I think the reason anybody plays for the national team at all is to compete at the highest level and help your country represent on the world stage the best you can. I think it was unfortunate that the timing and the situation were as they were.”

Powell heard from Canadian head coach Nick Nurse just before the start of the NBA season and sounds excited about the coming summer.

“Excited to finally, hopefully get a chance to do what we have been talking about for a while and that’s compete on the grand stage of the Olympics,” Powell said of his plans.  Obviously the first step is to qualify. Having games in our home country is huge and a big responsibility but it’s also more motivation.”


Nurse and assistant coach Nate Bjorkgren made the quick trip back to Iowa and their former G-League team the Iowa Energy for Nick Nurse bobblehead night. Nurse was pretty impressed with the likeness on the doll giving it a 71/2 out of 10. The first 1,000 fans in attendance scooped one up. One particular fan on twitter was claiming to have initially unknowingly sold his bobblehead to Nurse himself for $20.


Delon Wright hasn’t seen a lot of his former Raptors teammates since that trade last February but they did some catching up with an off night for both teams in Dallas on Friday night. Pascal Siakam, Norm Powell, and Fred VanVleet all joined Wright for a catch-up dinner. Wright said Anunoby was on the list too but he had something else going on … Pre-game the comparisons were getting tossed around matching JJ Barea with VanVleet. Nurse was having none of that as much respect as he has for Barea. “I kind of like to compare Fred to Kyle to be honest,” Nurse said. “I think they are both kind of strong and stocky, do everything, guys who will battle you like crazy. JJ is the same. Everybody always like to post up JJ and you can never get it done. You say ‘We are going to go at him” and somehow he fights with his lower body or uses whatever tricks all those of those guys use to defend down there. JJ is probably a little quicker than Fred, harder to keep under control. Freddy methodically picks you apart, changes tempo, uses hesitation and things like that but both can shoot. Both are winning type players.”