I will say, I was admittedly scared before the game to watch this small-ball Raptors team face off against Nikola Jokic. A big man who can take essentially anyone one-on-one, from the post or face-up, all while being the best passer in the league poses a matchup nightmare for anyone, let alone Toronto.
If we want to revert back to AAU references, Jokic looked like that 12 year old who’s already 6’2″ and hasn’t fully grown into his feet. Except… this one has the basketball skills of a Wizard.
The Nuggets started up early, just throwing the ball to Jokic in the post. Single coverage meant a bucket, and a double team meant an assist. The Raptors were basically relying on a poor entry pass from a teammate, because even a missed shot meant an offensive rebound for the big, lumbering chicken nugget. That was mean actually, he’s slimmed down a lot over the years.
Still my MVP. Him or Joel Embiid, who’s on my *cough* fantasy team.
Toronto’s biggest downfall tonight was not being able to take advantage of the Jokicless minutes. Only winning those minutes by two was a huge missed opportunity. I will say though, I can’t fully blame the Raptors for that one. The Nuggets were slinging the ball around the goldmine, hit some big threes, and some very difficult shots.
It was evident that Jokic was a little exhausted after the first quarter. Between playing 34 minutes last night, flying to Toronto, going through customs, stopping at Tim Hortons, saying watsup to Drake, and playing against Toronto’s fast-pace offense, Jokic stopped taking advantage of his size advantage in the post.
Even saying that, this game came down to one word: Rebounds. A 50-35 rebound advantage can make the difference in a game, let alone a one-point win. The Joker pulled down 15 himself, to compliment his 28 points, and 6 assists. And sadly no, he is not on my fantasy team.
BUT, my fantasy team did have another great night! And yes, I will be talking about my fantasy team in every article because I’m obsessed and have a problem. So if you’re like Pardon My Take and don’t care about my fantasy team, you can leave. Just please finish the article first, and come back for the next one.
Now I will continue: THANK YOU PASCAL SIAKAM! I tweeted it today, and I’ll tweet it again, he is All-NBA bound! It’s almost as if you can’t judge a player based on how they play in a bubble, and in a season with 0 home games. 35 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists on 73% from the field; there really isn’t much else you can say about the guy.
I’d have to agree with Neeraj on this one. Even though Raptors fans can often be hyperbolic, exaggerative, biased, and a lot of other things, he has truly been that good, and should very well take home his second player of the week in a row.
And yes, I went this entire article without mentioning the end of the win streak on purpose. It’s because I’m salty about it and it sucks, and losing one game is the end of the world, so don’t tell me it isn’t, mom! Hopefully the Raptors can win out their next two against the New Orleans Pelicans and Minnesota Timberwolves, and head into the all star break on a high.
Also, shout out Scottie Barnes and his little push shot. This man is beyond his years.
Well it’s Super Bowl eve, and that’s almost as exciting to me as Christmas Eve, so I should go start partying. See ya’ll next game.