The Nick Nurse era for the Toronto Raptors has been all about defence. The Raps often shut down superstars and force the secondary and even tertiary players to beat them.
Which is a great tactic, but only when those secondary players don’t have themselves a career night… and for some reason that happens a lot to the Toronto Raptors.
Calling it a “career night” could be a bit dramatic to say, but it’s become a trend over the years where some players who were definitely not in the scouting report play like they should have been.
Using some recent examples, just two days ago Pat Connaughton — who averages six points on the season — went off for 20. On February 11th, just a few games prior, Semi Ojeleye of the Boston Celtics also scored a season high of 24 against Toronto – almost 20 points more than his season average of five points per game.
This isn’t an anomaly, for some reason scrubs have been abusing the Toronto Raptors for ages.
3 players come to mind, the first one being…
So Dougie MacBuckets had a stellar college career at Creighton
However, his play didn’t really translate well to the NBA. He was slow and un-athletic, and frankly he looks like he just can’t keep up most of the time.
Unless he’s playing the Raptors.
In his sophomore year, playing for the Chicago Bulls, MacDermott played two games against Toronto. In those two games McDeromott had 59 points, went 8/10 from three, and shot 22/28 from the field. He averaged nine points that season.
As a Bull, Doug McDermott averaged 24 points against Toronto. Nobody knows why.
No one should have been scared to see Gerald Henderson suit up against your favourite team, but I was.
He hasn’t checked into a game since 2017, but back when he played for the Charlotte Hornets, for some reason Henderson played better against Toronto than any other team.
Over the course of his career Henderson averaged 13.4 points against the Raptors, opposed to his 11.2 against every other team. That isn’t that impressive, as I don’t think a 2 point increase is something to pine over, but what stood out to me the most was the Henderson shot 52 percent in 23 games played against the Toronto Raptors.
If that wasn’t enough, Henderson scored a season-high 31 points against the Raptors back on January 8th, 2015.
It’s never going to stop.
Having random people go off against them is part of their blood. I don’t mind being the team that guys like JJ Reddick or Jeremy Lamb have circled on their calendar, I do mind the fact that superstars also feel like they should set their career high against Toronto at one point in their NBA tenure.
Obviously, there’s the late, great Kobe Bryant leading the way with 81
But then you have guys like Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Allen Iverson and Damian Lillard have all set career highs at one point against Toronto. All of them dropping 50 points or more.
I’m not sure what it is, because Toronto is actually good at defence, but someone is always going to have a career game against the Raptors. I wish it wasn’t the case but those are the rules we have to follow.