Title: OG Anunoby leads Raptors to best win of the season against Pacers
Date: January 24, 2021
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about the Raptors pulling out their best win of the season, down two of their stars.
With their lead down to one point with two minutes to play, Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse had the ball in the hands of DeAndre’ Bembry.
That alone was surprising enough. Over the Raptors’ first 15 games, Bembry had appeared in just seven for a total of 23 minutes. You would generously call two of those appearances real rotation opportunities, and they came very early in the season. Without Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam against the Indiana Pacers on Sunday, Nurse reached deep into his bench, ultimately playing 11 players. Bembry didn’t get a shot until Terence Davis II continued his mistake-prone play, and Bembry ran with the opportunity. He wound up nearly doubling his minutes for the season, playing 21 in the Raptors’ 107-102 victory.
The wrinkle with Bembry is that he’s not a huge threat off the ball in the half court. A good defender and transition menace, playing Bembry against a locked-in defence means using him a lot as a cutter or, as Nurse chose, putting the ball in his hands. He’s a quality playmaker for a wing and dished three assists in the game. This is what the Raptors expected with Bembry, who looked like a potential closer if he could earn Nurse’s trust. And so you can understand Bembry being called on in such a high-leverage situation.