10 issues: Raptors end 2022 on a excessive word, what does that imply for 2023?

Listed here are 10 takeaways from the Toronto Raptors‘ 113-104 win over the Phoenix Suns.

1. The Raptors concluded 2022 with a gritty win over the Suns. It has been a troublesome month for the Raptors, who had deserted their defensive id and slid to twenty ninth in defensive score over their final ten video games, however they managed to rediscover themselves to complete on a excessive.

It was tougher than it wanted to be towards a Suns facet with out Devin Booker and several other key position gamers, and it appeared shaky when the Suns took the lead late, however the Raptors completed sturdy by way of a complete crew effort that featured a number of unlikely contributors.

2. Nick Nurse laid into the crew after its newest loss, calling the shortage of effort towards Memphis “unacceptable” after which proceeded to indicate a lowlight reel. Nurse was the one one to talk within the 20-minute costume down of the crew, and the problem was issued. Would the Raptors decide to the defensive finish, or would they proceed to flounder?

The Raptors responded strongly with certainly one of their greatest showings of the season, forcing 25 turnovers out of Phoenix — doubling their common on the season — whereas holding the Suns to only 104 factors regardless of 48 per cent taking pictures from three, which largely got here from their position gamers.

Toronto’s plethora of athletic wings put their skills to good use by continually pressuring the ball, whereas seamlessly switching assignments to neutralize Phoenix’s go-to performs. That is the kind of effort and togetherness on defence that’s wanted each night time for the Raptors to remain aggressive.

var adServerUrl = “”;
var $el = $( “#video_container-885139” );
var permalink = $el.closest(‘.snet-single-article’).information(‘permalink’);

/*
if ( “1” == true && ‘undefined’ !== typeof window.getIndexAds ) {
var so = preroll:1:1:siteID:191888,2:siteID:191889;
adServerUrl = window.getIndexAds( ‘http://pubads.g.doubleclick.internet/gampad/advertisements?sz=640×360&cust_params=domainpercent3Dsportsnet.ca&iu=%2F7326percent2Fen.sportsnet.internetpercent2FVideo&ciu_szs=300×250&impl=s&gdfp_req=1&env=vp&output=huge&unviewed_position_start=1&ad_rule=1&vid=6318035720112&cmsid=384’, so, permalink);
} else
adServerUrl = “http://pubads.g.doubleclick.internet/gampad/advertisements?sz=640×360&cust_params=domainpercent3Dsportsnet.ca&iu=%2F7326percent2Fen.sportsnet.internetpercent2FVideo&ciu_szs=300×250&impl=s&gdfp_req=1&env=vp&output=huge&unviewed_position_start=1&ad_rule=1&vid=6318035720112&cmsid=384”;

*/
adServerUrl = “http://pubads.g.doubleclick.internet/gampad/advertisements?sz=640×360&cust_params=domainpercent3Dsportsnet.ca&iu=%2F7326percent2Fen.sportsnet.internetpercent2FVideo&ciu_szs=300×250&impl=s&gdfp_req=1&env=vp&output=huge&unviewed_position_start=1&ad_rule=1&vid=6318035720112&cmsid=384”;
var adServerUrl_result = adServerUrl.contains(“cust_params”);
var queryString=”;
if(adServerUrl_result)
var gettheDUFI = localStorage.getItem(“theRED_loc”)

if(gettheDUFI)
queryString += “dufiid=” + gettheDUFI + ‘&’;
queryString += “ppid=” + gettheDUFI + ‘&’;
var ppid = “ppid=” + gettheDUFI + ‘&’;

var DUFI_IP = sessionStorage.getItem(“DUFI_IP”)

if(DUFI_IP)
queryString += “dufiip=” + DUFI_IP + ‘&’;

adServerUrl = adServerUrl.exchange(/cust_params=/, ppid + ‘cust_params=” + encodeURIComponent(queryString) );

$el.after( unescape(“%3Cscript src=”” + (doc.location.protocol == “https:” ? “https://sb” : “http://b”) + “.scorecardresearch.com/beacon.js” %3Epercent3C/scriptpercent3E”) );

$( doc ).one( “prepared’, operate()
$( “#video_container-885139” ).SNPlayer(
bc_account_id: “1704050871”,
bc_player_id: “JCdte3tMv”,
//autoplay: true,
//is_has_autoplay_switch: false,
bc_videos: 6318035720112,
is_has_continuous_play: “false”,
adserverurl: adServerUrl,
part: “”,
thumbnail: “https://www.sportsnet.ca/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/6318035720112-1024×576.jpg”,
direct_url: “https://www.sportsnet.ca/nba/video/how-did-the-raptors-respond-to-nurses-comments-questioning-the-teams-effort/”
);
);

var adServerUrl = “”;
var $el = $( “#video_container-431623” );
var permalink = $el.closest(‘.snet-single-article’).information(‘permalink’);

/*
if ( “1” == true && ‘undefined’ !== typeof window.getIndexAds ) {
var so = preroll:1:1:siteID:191888,2:siteID:191889;
adServerUrl = window.getIndexAds( ‘http://pubads.g.doubleclick.internet/gampad/advertisements?sz=640×360&cust_params=domainpercent3Dsportsnet.ca&iu=%2F7326percent2Fen.sportsnet.internetpercent2FVideo&ciu_szs=300×250&impl=s&gdfp_req=1&env=vp&output=huge&unviewed_position_start=1&ad_rule=1&vid=6318035720112&cmsid=384’, so, permalink);
} else
adServerUrl = “http://pubads.g.doubleclick.internet/gampad/advertisements?sz=640×360&cust_params=domainpercent3Dsportsnet.ca&iu=%2F7326percent2Fen.sportsnet.internetpercent2FVideo&ciu_szs=300×250&impl=s&gdfp_req=1&env=vp&output=huge&unviewed_position_start=1&ad_rule=1&vid=6318035720112&cmsid=384”;

*/
adServerUrl = “http://pubads.g.doubleclick.internet/gampad/advertisements?sz=640×360&cust_params=domainpercent3Dsportsnet.ca&iu=%2F7326percent2Fen.sportsnet.internetpercent2FVideo&ciu_szs=300×250&impl=s&gdfp_req=1&env=vp&output=huge&unviewed_position_start=1&ad_rule=1&vid=6318035720112&cmsid=384”;
var adServerUrl_result = adServerUrl.contains(“cust_params”);
var queryString=”;
if(adServerUrl_result)
var gettheDUFI = localStorage.getItem(“theRED_loc”)

if(gettheDUFI)
queryString += “dufiid=” + gettheDUFI + ‘&’;
queryString += “ppid=” + gettheDUFI + ‘&’;
var ppid = “ppid=” + gettheDUFI + ‘&’;

var DUFI_IP = sessionStorage.getItem(“DUFI_IP”)

if(DUFI_IP)
queryString += “dufiip=” + DUFI_IP + ‘&’;

adServerUrl = adServerUrl.exchange(/cust_params=/, ppid + ‘cust_params=” + encodeURIComponent(queryString) );

$el.after( unescape(“%3Cscript src=”” + (doc.location.protocol == “https:” ? “https://sb” : “http://b”) + “.scorecardresearch.com/beacon.js” %3Epercent3C/scriptpercent3E”) );

$( doc ).one( “prepared’, operate()
$( “#video_container-431623” ).SNPlayer(
bc_account_id: “1704050871”,
bc_player_id: “JCdte3tMv”,
//autoplay: false,
//is_has_autoplay_switch: false,
bc_videos: 6318035720112,
is_has_continuous_play: “false”,
adserverurl: adServerUrl,
part: “”,
thumbnail: “https://www.sportsnet.ca/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/6318035720112-1024×576.jpg”,
direct_url: “https://www.sportsnet.ca/nba/video/how-did-the-raptors-respond-to-nurses-comments-questioning-the-teams-effort/”
);
);

.acf-block-preview .br-video-thumbnail::earlier than
content material: “”;
place: absolute;
high: 45%;
left: 50%;
remodel: translate3d(-50%, -50%, 0);
-moz-transform: translate3d(-50%, -50%, 0);
-ms-transform: translate3d(-50%, -50%, 0);
-o-transform: translate3d(-50%, -50%, 0);
-webkit-transform: translate3d(-50%, -50%, 0);
width: 20px;
peak: 0px;
border-top: 14px strong clear;
border-left: 22px strong #fff;
border-bottom: 14px strong clear;
margin-left: 3px;

3. Toronto’s defence was so locked in that essentially the most skilled level guard within the league dedicated six turnovers, together with an eight-second violation late within the fourth. Chris Paul was clearly the principle menace, and Nurse’s answer was to have Scottie Barnes strain him the whole sport. Barnes dedicated himself absolutely to the problem and used his size to drive Paul into longer passes and to contest his deadly midrange jumper.

The opposite profit of getting Barnes on Paul is that the Raptors had been capable of change the pick-and-roll with Deandre Ayton, which restricted dribble penetration and minimize off provide to Phoenix’s franchise centre, who completed with a measly 4 factors on 10 makes an attempt.

4. Gary Trent Jr. stepped up because the secondary scorer that the Raptors so badly wanted. Trent Jr. was unstoppable within the third quarter with 18 factors and two four-point performs, and completed sturdy by nailing a closely contested turnaround shot that stored the Raptors forward down the stretch.

Trent Jr. was reinserted into the beginning lineup and paired effectively with Pascal Siakam as an outlet on the high of the ground to knock down threes when Siakam beat his man and drew assist. Trent Jr. then continued to do injury on his personal, largely by way of utilizing ball screens to get into the midrange, the place he was capable of catch the Suns backpedalling for area on his shot. Trent Jr. additionally competed on the defensive finish for 3 steals and a block, which immediately led to a number of transition baskets.

.acf-block-preview .br-snippet
show: grid;
grid-template-columns: 200px 1fr;
hole: 20px;
width: 100%;
margin: 0 auto;
padding: 16px;
border: 1px strong #CECECE;
background-color: #FFF;
border-radius: 4px;

.acf-block-preview .br-snippet-info a
text-decoration: none;

.acf-block-preview .br-snippet-info .br-snippet-title
colour: #343434;
font-family: ‘roboto’;
font-size: 20px;
font-weight: 600;
line-height: 22px;
margin-bottom: 10px;
high: -3px;

.acf-block-preview .br-snippet-info .br-snippet-body
colour: #343434;
font-family: ‘urw-din’;
font-size: 16px;
line-height: 20px;
margin-bottom: 12px;

.acf-block-preview .br-snippet-info .br-snippet-link-title
show: inline-block;
font-family: ‘urw-din’;
font-size: 16px;
list-style-type: none;
width: auto;

.acf-block-preview .br-snippet-info .br-snippet-link-title:not(:last-child):after
content material: ‘

5. Siakam was wonderful as ordinary regardless of dealing with one other wall of bodily wing defenders. Phoenix had three gritty stoppers in Mikal Bridges, Torey Craig, and Ish Wainwright to strain Siakam always, they usually performed zone for giant stretches of the sport to additional construct the wall between Siakam and the basket. Regardless of the added consideration, Siakam was constantly capable of generate offence by breaking previous his project, and both drawing the assistance defender which led to kick-out threes, or by beating the assistance to the spot and stretching all the best way to the rim.

The Raptors forcing 25 turnovers additionally made life simpler for Siakam, who all the time feasts in transition. For his efforts, Siakam heard MVP chants for the primary time this season as he went to the road 10 instances.

6. Trent Jr. and Siakam proceed to pair effectively on offence. Siakam is constantly capable of break the primary line of defence and get into the center of the ground, the place he usually attracts assist from the wing. The straightforward play there’s the kick-out to the shooter, however the Raptors have sorely lacked constant taking pictures on the high of the ground.

Trent Jr. thrives on these actual probabilities, the place he can assault a closeout with an assortment of strikes, such because the side-step or stepback jumper, the up faux after which entering into the area for the midrange, or just catching and taking pictures with out hesitation. It helps to maximise each gamers to have them on the ground collectively.

var adServerUrl = “”;
var $el = $( “#video_container-279179” );
var permalink = $el.closest(‘.snet-single-article’).information(‘permalink’);

/*
if ( “1” == true && ‘undefined’ !== typeof window.getIndexAds ) {
var so = preroll:1:1:siteID:191888,2:siteID:191889;
adServerUrl = window.getIndexAds( ‘http://pubads.g.doubleclick.internet/gampad/advertisements?sz=640×360&cust_params=domainpercent3Dsportsnet.ca&iu=%2F7326percent2Fen.sportsnet.internetpercent2FVideo&ciu_szs=300×250&impl=s&gdfp_req=1&env=vp&output=huge&unviewed_position_start=1&ad_rule=1&vid=6318033556112&cmsid=384’, so, permalink);
} else
adServerUrl = “http://pubads.g.doubleclick.internet/gampad/advertisements?sz=640×360&cust_params=domainpercent3Dsportsnet.ca&iu=%2F7326percent2Fen.sportsnet.internetpercent2FVideo&ciu_szs=300×250&impl=s&gdfp_req=1&env=vp&output=huge&unviewed_position_start=1&ad_rule=1&vid=6318033556112&cmsid=384”;

*/
adServerUrl = “http://pubads.g.doubleclick.internet/gampad/advertisements?sz=640×360&cust_params=domainpercent3Dsportsnet.ca&iu=%2F7326percent2Fen.sportsnet.internetpercent2FVideo&ciu_szs=300×250&impl=s&gdfp_req=1&env=vp&output=huge&unviewed_position_start=1&ad_rule=1&vid=6318033556112&cmsid=384”;
var adServerUrl_result = adServerUrl.contains(“cust_params”);
var queryString=”;
if(adServerUrl_result)
var gettheDUFI = localStorage.getItem(“theRED_loc”)

if(gettheDUFI)
queryString += “dufiid=” + gettheDUFI + ‘&’;
queryString += “ppid=” + gettheDUFI + ‘&’;
var ppid = “ppid=” + gettheDUFI + ‘&’;

var DUFI_IP = sessionStorage.getItem(“DUFI_IP”)

if(DUFI_IP)
queryString += “dufiip=” + DUFI_IP + ‘&’;

adServerUrl = adServerUrl.exchange(/cust_params=/, ppid + ‘cust_params=” + encodeURIComponent(queryString) );

$el.after( unescape(“%3Cscript src=”” + (doc.location.protocol == “https:” ? “https://sb” : “http://b”) + “.scorecardresearch.com/beacon.js” %3Epercent3C/scriptpercent3E”) );

$( doc ).one( “prepared’, operate()
$( “#video_container-279179” ).SNPlayer(
bc_account_id: “1704050871”,
bc_player_id: “JCdte3tMv”,
//autoplay: true,
//is_has_autoplay_switch: false,
bc_videos: 6318033556112,
is_has_continuous_play: “false”,
adserverurl: adServerUrl,
part: “”,
thumbnail: “https://www.sportsnet.ca/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/6318033556112-1024×576.jpg”,
direct_url: “https://www.sportsnet.ca/nba/video/nurse-on-how-well-the-raptors-challenged-the-suns-and-getting-the-job-done/”
);
);

var adServerUrl = “”;
var $el = $( “#video_container-590399” );
var permalink = $el.closest(‘.snet-single-article’).information(‘permalink’);

/*
if ( “1” == true && ‘undefined’ !== typeof window.getIndexAds ) {
var so = preroll:1:1:siteID:191888,2:siteID:191889;
adServerUrl = window.getIndexAds( ‘http://pubads.g.doubleclick.internet/gampad/advertisements?sz=640×360&cust_params=domainpercent3Dsportsnet.ca&iu=%2F7326percent2Fen.sportsnet.internetpercent2FVideo&ciu_szs=300×250&impl=s&gdfp_req=1&env=vp&output=huge&unviewed_position_start=1&ad_rule=1&vid=6318033556112&cmsid=384’, so, permalink);
} else
adServerUrl = “http://pubads.g.doubleclick.internet/gampad/advertisements?sz=640×360&cust_params=domainpercent3Dsportsnet.ca&iu=%2F7326percent2Fen.sportsnet.internetpercent2FVideo&ciu_szs=300×250&impl=s&gdfp_req=1&env=vp&output=huge&unviewed_position_start=1&ad_rule=1&vid=6318033556112&cmsid=384”;

*/
adServerUrl = “http://pubads.g.doubleclick.internet/gampad/advertisements?sz=640×360&cust_params=domainpercent3Dsportsnet.ca&iu=%2F7326percent2Fen.sportsnet.internetpercent2FVideo&ciu_szs=300×250&impl=s&gdfp_req=1&env=vp&output=huge&unviewed_position_start=1&ad_rule=1&vid=6318033556112&cmsid=384”;
var adServerUrl_result = adServerUrl.contains(“cust_params”);
var queryString=”;
if(adServerUrl_result)
var gettheDUFI = localStorage.getItem(“theRED_loc”)

if(gettheDUFI)
queryString += “dufiid=” + gettheDUFI + ‘&’;
queryString += “ppid=” + gettheDUFI + ‘&’;
var ppid = “ppid=” + gettheDUFI + ‘&’;

var DUFI_IP = sessionStorage.getItem(“DUFI_IP”)

if(DUFI_IP)
queryString += “dufiip=” + DUFI_IP + ‘&’;

adServerUrl = adServerUrl.exchange(/cust_params=/, ppid + ‘cust_params=” + encodeURIComponent(queryString) );

$el.after( unescape(“%3Cscript src=”” + (doc.location.protocol == “https:” ? “https://sb” : “http://b”) + “.scorecardresearch.com/beacon.js” %3Epercent3C/scriptpercent3E”) );

$( doc ).one( “prepared’, operate()
$( “#video_container-590399” ).SNPlayer(
bc_account_id: “1704050871”,
bc_player_id: “JCdte3tMv”,
//autoplay: false,
//is_has_autoplay_switch: false,
bc_videos: 6318033556112,
is_has_continuous_play: “false”,
adserverurl: adServerUrl,
part: “”,
thumbnail: “https://www.sportsnet.ca/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/6318033556112-1024×576.jpg”,
direct_url: “https://www.sportsnet.ca/nba/video/nurse-on-how-well-the-raptors-challenged-the-suns-and-getting-the-job-done/”
);
);

.acf-block-preview .br-video-thumbnail::earlier than
content material: “”;
place: absolute;
high: 45%;
left: 50%;
remodel: translate3d(-50%, -50%, 0);
-moz-transform: translate3d(-50%, -50%, 0);
-ms-transform: translate3d(-50%, -50%, 0);
-o-transform: translate3d(-50%, -50%, 0);
-webkit-transform: translate3d(-50%, -50%, 0);
width: 20px;
peak: 0px;
border-top: 14px strong clear;
border-left: 22px strong #fff;
border-bottom: 14px strong clear;
margin-left: 3px;

7. O.G. Anunoby may have been the third choice to bridge that hole, however he was saddled with foul hassle all night time. Anunoby thought he had an and-one probability within the third quarter, however the Suns efficiently challenged and flipped it into Anunoby’s fifth foul, which nailed him to the bench till late within the fourth.

When he was on the market, Anunoby was disruptive defensively, nailed catch-and-shoot threes, and supplied wonderful defensive versatility toggling between guarding the perimeter whereas additionally having the ability to bang with Ayton within the paint.

8. With out Anunoby and Trent Jr. to start the fourth quarter, Nurse turned to Jeff Dowtin Jr. for a brief shift. The objective was all the time to purchase sufficient time earlier than his starters may return, however it additionally confirmed belief in what Dowtin Jr. has supplied in restricted run.

He was pesky on defence and picked up a steal for a breakaway layup, and in addition made a well timed minimize off a surprisingly deft feed from Chris Boucher out of the excessive put up, which then arrange Thad Younger on the end. Dowtin Jr. has solely seen a handful of significant minutes this season, however Nurse has already recognized him as a dependable defensive contributor which is the simplest solution to break into the rotation. The subsequent step could be for Dowtin Jr. to be extra aggressive together with his offence, together with taking the open threes.

.acf-block-preview .br-snippet
show: grid;
grid-template-columns: 200px 1fr;
hole: 20px;
width: 100%;
margin: 0 auto;
padding: 16px;
border: 1px strong #CECECE;
background-color: #FFF;
border-radius: 4px;

.acf-block-preview .br-snippet-info a
text-decoration: none;

.acf-block-preview .br-snippet-info .br-snippet-title
colour: #343434;
font-family: ‘roboto’;
font-size: 20px;
font-weight: 600;
line-height: 22px;
margin-bottom: 10px;
high: -3px;

.acf-block-preview .br-snippet-info .br-snippet-body
colour: #343434;
font-family: ‘urw-din’;
font-size: 16px;
line-height: 20px;
margin-bottom: 12px;

.acf-block-preview .br-snippet-info .br-snippet-link-title
show: inline-block;
font-family: ‘urw-din’;
font-size: 16px;
list-style-type: none;
width: auto;

.acf-block-preview .br-snippet-info .br-snippet-link-title:not(:last-child):after
content material: ‘

9. One other shock contributor was Christian Koloko. He was strong all through, though it was by no means a assure that he would end the sport, however Nurse confirmed religion within the rookie who delivered.

Koloko nailed his first profession triple off a drive-and-dish within the nook from Trent Jr. which made it a six-point sport with two minutes left, after which collected two free ball fouls to take care of possession down the stretch. Koloko has been constantly engaged on nook threes after practices and has proven good leads to a observe setting, and so the subsequent step was to translate it in-game. The truth that Koloko shot it with confidence speaks is encouraging and reaffirming.

10. The win doesn’t change who the Raptors are, simply as they aren’t outlined by their latest losses. Toronto is like half the league in that they’ve sufficient expertise to compete, however their consistency isn’t there. When the Raptors absolutely decide to defence, they could be a good crew that ought to problem for a playoff spot.

However, as a result of their offence is just too restricted on account of a scarcity of expertise, they’ll look actually dangerous when their defence isn’t set.

The problem for this crew within the coming weeks in 2023 is to constantly ship defensive depth whatever the scenario. If they’ll lock in on the second night time of a back-to-back over the vacations with out three rotation gamers, then there’s no excuse for it to be absent for weeks at a time.

The entrance workplace might very effectively resolve to pivot and redesign the crew for the longer term, however till February the Raptors can even chart their very own course by coming collectively as a crew, and all of it begins on defence.

.acf-block-preview .br-related-links-wrapper
show: grid;
grid-template-columns: repeat(2, 1fr);
hole: 20px;

.acf-block-preview .br-related-links-wrapper a
pointer-events: none;
cursor: default;
text-decoration: none;
colour: black;