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The Skip Pass: Raptors have a Happy Halloween!

(AP Photo/Nick Wass
AP Photo/Nick Wass

The Skip Pass will be your home on Today’s Fastbreak for insights and nuggets on each game played in the NBA. This is different from your regular game recap or box score. We want to take you inside the game and call out things you might have missed.

Focus Games: Nuggets at Raptors, Suns at Clippers

Other Games: Bulls at Nets, Kings at Hawks

RAPTORS 105 – NUGGETS 102

RAPTORS

  • It was all about the backcourt for the Raptors in this game. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan combined for 62 points on 23-43 shooting from the floor and 15-19 from the line. Both players got what they wanted all night long against an overmatched Denver guard group.
  • Jakob Poeltl went scoreless, but he grabbed five rebounds and blocked two shots. He was solid defensively, which is all the Raptors need from him at this point.
  • Patrick Patterson couldn’t get anything going offensively, but he blocked five shots. He’s coming off the bench, but he’s playing all the key minutes for Toronto at the PF spot.

NUGGETS

  • It was a balanced attack for Denver, with six players scoring between 12 and 16 points. The depth will show up night after night for the Nuggets and keep them in games.
  • Will Barton left early with an ankle injury. He was having a good night with 16 points on 5-7 shooting and the Nuggets missed him late in a tight game.
  • Kenneth Faried is clearly not happy to be coming off the bench, but he’s playing with great energy. His offense can be a liability, but his hustle can help change games when he gets in.

 

CLIPPERS 116 – SUNS 98

CLIPPERS

  • After a game where the starters were mostly non-factors, they bounced back with four players in double figures. On a night where the bench was inconsistent, it was good to see the opening unit take care of business.
  • Blake Griffin was too much for the Suns to handle. He got to the line 14 times and singlehandedly forced Jared Dudley, Tyson Chandler and Marquese Chriss into foul trouble.
  • This type of victory was good for the Clippers. In years past they would let an opponent like Phoenix hang around and have to play their key players extended minutes. Tonight LA took care of business early and got out of there with plenty of rest.

SUNS

  • Outside of Tyson Chandler the Suns’ defense really struggled. Chandler was left on an island too many times and eventually fouled out. Jared Dudley looks like the mind is willing, but the body isn’t at times on defense. The rotations aren’t crisp either. When you play an undersized group like Phoenix does, you have to be solid in your rotations.
  • Without Devin Booker, who missed the game with a sprained toe, the Suns couldn’t create enough offense. With the defense struggling, the Suns could have used Booker’s scoring.

BULLS 118 – NETS 88

BULLS

  • With so many veterans, Chicago needs to blow out inferior opponents and let their players rest. Tonight they accomplished this in great fashion. They didn’t do anything special but overwhelmed an inferior team.
  • One thing to keep an eye on: Chicago doesn’t defend the arc very well. The Nets got a lot of clean looks and simply missed them. That is something the Bulls will need to clean up.

NETS

  • The Nets seem like a 12-16 seed in the NCAA Tournament. They execute well but are often athletically overwhelmed. They also take a lot of threes. When they get hot, they can shoot themselves into the game. When they aren’t, they are out of it early.
  • The Nets pulled off the rare fete where every player who saw the court was a negative plus-minus. Usually, someone gets into the positive during garbage time, but not tonight. Just a forgettable performance for Brooklyn.

HAWKS 106 – KINGS 95

HAWKS

  • Dwight Howard was dominant inside all night long, drawing several fouls on the way to 20 FTAs. He also grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked four shots. He’s opened his Atlanta career with a bang.
  • Without Jeff Teague, Paul Millsap is doing more ball handling than he used to. He’s taken to the role well and had eight assists last night to go along with 13 points and 14 rebounds. Outside of Dennis Schroder, the Hawks don’t have a lot of playmakers, so Millsap stepping up in this way is a pleasant surprise.
  • Thabo Sefolosha has been one of the best bench players in the league in the season’s first week. His scoring was down, but he was +20 in 24 minutes and managed to snag four steals.
  • Malcolm Delaney continues to give Atlanta solid backup minutes behind Schroder. Nothing spectacular, but solid play. Exactly what you want from a backup PG.

KINGS

  • The Kings relied on DeMarcus Cousins to carry too much of the load on both ends of the floor. He had tough defensive matchups with Howard and Millsap, so he needed a little more help on the offensive end. He didn’t get it from anyone outside of Rudy Gay.
  • The Kings starters played the Hawks fairly even. Where it all fell apart for Sacramento was when they had to go to the bench. Matt Barnes, in particular, had a rough night after a good start to the season.
  • This was the beginning of a very early five-game East Coast swing for the Kings. The next three games vs. Miami, Orlando and Milwaukee are winnable before they close at Toronto. If Sacramento wants to be in the playoff conversation, they need to go at least 2-3 during this trip.

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