New year, new Toronto Raptors.
The Raptors kick off 2024 with a win beating the Cleveland Cavaliers 124-121.
The story of this game was RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley making their Raptors debuts.
Both players were integrated in the starting lineup along with Scottie Barnes, Pascal Siakam and Jakob Poeltl.
Barrett had 19 points and 9 rebounds on 6-12 shooting from the field and 1-1 from three. He was 6-8 from the free throw line. Barrett did a great job attacking the basket and was aggressive at every opportunity he got. His ability to get downhill will be big for Toronto.
Meanwhile, Quickley got into early foul trouble but he still finished with 14 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals on 5-13 from the field and 2-5 from three. Quickley showed off his quickness and explosiveness. He will have a true opportunity to flourish in Toronto as their starting point guard.
The Raptors got off to a blazing start. They hit 7-10 threes in the first quarter and scored 41 points in the frame. The Raptors offense had better spacing and the starting five looked a lot more balanced.
Siakam had his three point touch going in this one. He made 5 three-pointers on his way to scoring a game-high 36 points.
Barnes chipped in with 20 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists. Poeltl was solid finishing with 14 points, 11 rebounds and 3 blocks. All five Raptors starters finished in double figures.
Darko Rajakovic went with a nine-man rotation and relied heavily on Dennis Schroder and Gary Trent Jr. Schroder scored 12 points in 30 minutes and Trent Jr. dropped 9 in 26 minutes of action. Chris Boucher was scoreless in 11 minutes and Thad Young played only 2 minutes in the first quarter.
The Raptors look thin with their frontcourt depth and will need a backup center unless Christian Koloko returns soon.
The Raptors led by as many as 19 points, but then the Cavaliers stormed back thanks to Donovan Mitchell who scored 26 points and Caris LeVert who had 31 from off the bench.
Toronto was able to hold on to the 3 point win. They get a much needed victory before their west coast trip.
Next on tap
The Raptors will travel to Memphis to take on the Grizzlies on Jan. 3, which will kickoff their 6 game west coast trip. Toronto will certainly be tested over the next week two weeks.
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