Photo credit: @hotleaguetakes on Twitter.
After losing back-to-back games against the Philadelphia 76ers and the Miami Heat, the Toronto Raptors were able to get back on track with a convincing win over the Houston Rockets.
Considering all the injuries and inconsistent rotations the Raptors have had this season, a record of 17-17 is a definite win for Raps fans right now.
Kyle Lowry returned from a left thumb injury last week and played very well against the Heat and Rockets, scoring over 20 points in both games and posting a triple-double in the win over Houston.
Fred VanVleet also shouldered some of the load for the Raptors over the past week, averaging 20.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.3 blocks over the three-game stretch.
Those numbers are what we have come to expect from the Raptors starting backcourt of Lowry and VanVleet.
Powell’s Elite Scoring Numbers
On the other hand, Norman Powell has continued to progress and exceed expectations as a starter this season. Over the last three games, Powell averaged 23.7 points per game on 55.6 percent shooting from the field. Powell also hit nine threes with a 39.1 percent three-point percentage and was also very active in the passing lanes averaging 1.7 steals per game.
Raptors fans held their breath during last week’s loss against the 76ers, when Ben Simmons committed a hard foul on Powell during a fast break dunk attempt. I still can’t believe a foul wasn’t called on this play and Powell should have been given a pass on the tech he picked up for complaining after.
But Powell’s 30-point outing against Houston last Friday was just one point shy of tying his highest-scoring performance of the season. It may have been a more impressive showing if you consider the fact he shot 66.7 percent from the floor.
Norm is averaging 17.7 points per game this season. If it wasn’t for a slow start out of the blocks, Powell might be the leading scorer for the Raptors this season. Since he was permanently inserted into the starting lineup back in late January, Powell has averaged 22.3 points per game over an 18 game stretch.
Even more impressive, are his percentages over those 18 consecutive starts: 52.1 percent FG, 44.8 percent 3PFG and 91 percent FT.
Many wondered if Norman Powell would remain in the starting lineup when OG Anunoby returned from injury, but Powell has made a more than convincing case to remain in the starting lineup for the foreseeable future and has helped unlock the Raps small ball dominance.