The Toronto Raptors kicked off their 2023-24 campaign with a win at home. They defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 97-94.
It was not pretty, as the bench struggled and the team did not shoot the ball well. But, the ability to hold the Timberwolves to 94 points was impressive.
Point guard Dennis Schroder impressed in his Raptors debut. He had a team high 22 points, 7 assists on 8-for-17 shooting from the field and 4-for-8 from deep.
O.G. Anunoby finished with 20 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals on 7-for-13 from the field and 4-for-9 from deep. He was able to get the team going after a slow start.
After letting go of championship head coach Nick Nurse, Darko Rajakovic was given his first head coaching opportunity with Toronto. Being in the NBA since 2014, Rajakovic was able to get his first career win as a head coach in his first game.
When a new coach gets his first win, it usually calls for a celebration. That was the case on Wednesday, as players showered Rajakovic in water after the game:
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) October 26, 2023
Rajakovic made his rounds as an assistant coach. Most recently he spent time with the Memphis Grizzlies and helped develop their young talent. Now, he is able to use that experience and transfer it to this Raptors team.
After a disappointing year last season, Toronto was searching for some sort of change. The organization went the coaching route and brought in Rajakovic.
Whether further changes need to be made, remains to be seen, but Rajakovic clearly has the respect of his players. While it was a grind it out win, there are still 81 more games to go.
The Raptors have a lot to work on, but this a step in the right direction.
Up next for Toronto
The team now takes a trip to Chicago to take on the Bulls on Oct. 27. And then the team will have their first back-to-back of the season when they host the Philadelphia 76ers and former head coach Nick Nurse on Oct. 28.
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