Photo Credit: Toronto Raptors/Twitter
A severely shorthanded Toronto Raptors squad dropped its sixth game in a row in a tight affair with the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night at American Airlines Center.
Dallas led comfortably for most of the opening half, leading by 14 points at half-time. Toronto, ushered by its promising rookies and rotation players, closed the gap and made their opponents sweat in crunch time. The Mavericks hung on late in an important win to solidify a playoff spot in the West and avoid the play-in tournament.
Rookie Jalen Harris went off in his home state of Texas, scoring a career-high 31 on 12-of-21 shooting. Malachi Flynn added to the young backcourt’s impressive night with his own career-high in points with 26, adding five assists. Stanley Johnson brought the energy once again, registering a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Aron Baynes was solid in a rare appearance in this latter half of the season, putting up 13 points and six rebounds.
Kristaps Porzingis led the way for the Mavericks with 21 points and 10 boards, shooting three-of-five from three-point range. Jalen Brunson was impressive on offence with 19 points. Luka Doncic struggled to score, going only 7-of-19 from the field, but still managed a 20-10-11 triple-double.
Toronto generated little offence on fast-break opportunities without some of their prominent quick-tempo scorers like Siakam and Anunoby, only managing five points compared to Dallas’ 14.
The Mavericks were efficient from beyond the arc, sinking 40.5 percent of their shots, significantly higher than their season-average of 36.1 percent. The Raptors’ three-point shooting let them down, converting at a 34.2 percent clip, led by Harris’ five makes.
The Raptors also struggled from the free-throw line, converting only 13 of their 17 attemtps.
Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, Yuta Watanabe, Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, Rodney Hood and Paul Watson Jr. missed the game due to rest and injury. JJ Reddick and Maxi Kleber sat out for the Mavericks.
This wild Toronto Raptors season will finally come to a close after they face the Indiana Pacers at Amalie Arena on Sunday, hopefully leaving Tampa behind for good.