The Toronto Raptors fought hard on the second night of a back-to-back, but the playoff-ready Dallas Mavericks were too much to handle, beating the Raptors 114-110 at home on Friday night.
As they have for much of their recent losing streak, the Raptors were missing almost all of their big-name stars on Friday night, as Nick Nurse gave another chance to the players who haven’t gotten many opportunities during the course of the season. Toronto’s 7-man rotation was heavily outmatched pregame, as Dallas fielded an almost fully-healthy squad in what was one of their final tune-up games before the playoffs.
As per usual, the superstars led the way for the Mavericks on Friday evening in Dallas. Luka Doncic notched another efficient triple-double with a 20-point, 10-rebound, 11-assist showing, while Kristaps Porzingis scored 21 points to go alongside 10 rebounds. Outside of their main two, Dorian Finney-Smith had a good game with 17 points, while Jalen Brunson gave them a huge spark off of the bench, finishing with 19 points on 8/11 shooting from the field.
For the Raptors, Jalen Harris continued his recent run of impressive form. The Dallas native exploded for a career-high in his hometown, scoring 31 points and dropping 4 assists as well. Harris is seemingly turning into another late-draft success for Toronto, as the increased opportunity of late has allowed for his confidence to flourish. Harris’ fellow 2020 draftee Malachi Flynn was on fire in the loss as well, scoring 26 points to go with 6 rebounds and 5 assists. Stanley Johnson had a solid performance after his career-high the previous night, finishing with a 15 point 10 rebound double-double.
The loss for Toronto is their 9th in the last 10 games, although the results haven’t been surprising with the lineups that have been constructed. Following their elimination from the playoffs earlier in the week, the Raptors have completely turned their focus to development, and the impressive individual performances have been of more value than the actual score lines.
The first half of Friday night’s game belonged completely to Dallas, and it looked as if it could get out of hand early. The Mavericks led by 14 at the half, and with the Raptors being as shorthanded as they were, it would have been easy for them to fold and call it an early night. The Flynn-Harris backcourt kept things close though for the Raps, as they managed to claw back in both the third and fourth, before losing at the end in what turned out to be a competitive finish.
The win for Dallas gives them a record of 42-29, and their possible first round opponents have been narrowed down to 2 teams. The Mavericks will play either the Nuggets or Clippers in the first round of the playoffs, and either team would pose a massive challenge. The fact that this game ended up being closer than it should’ve been may actually help the Mavs in the long run, as they look to build some positive momentum regardless of which team they face.
Looking ahead, the Mavericks will finish their season on a back-to-back against the Timberwolves on Saturday night, while the Raptors will enjoy their day off and wrap the season against the Pacers on Sunday afternoon.
Harris – 31 PTS 2 REB 4 AST
Flynn – 26 PTS 6 REB 5 AST
Johnson – 15 PTS 10 REB 1 AST
Doncic – 20 PTS 10 REB 11 AST
Porzingis – 21 PTS 10 REB 2 AST
Finney-Smith – 17 PTS 3 REB 2 AST
Brunson – 19 PTS 5 REB 4 AST