NBA Hoops

Anunoby, VanVleet combine for 52 points, lead depleted Raptors past Mavericks

Anunoby, VanVleet combine for 52 points, lead depleted Raptors past Mavericks

Fred VanVleet bounced back from an illness to score 26 points, while O.G. Anunoby added 26 points and nine rebounds and the depleted Toronto Raptors beat the Dallas Mavericks 105-100 on Saturday.

Chris Boucher finished with 22 points, including a big basket in the dying seconds for Toronto (10-9). Juancho Hernangomez scored 10 points.

Luka Doncic led the Mavericks (9-9) with 24 points, nine assists and seven rebounds.

The Raptors have been hard hit by injuries and illness, starting their 10th lineup on Saturday in 19 games. VanVleet had missed three of the previous five games with a non-COVID illness, and declared himself still sick the night he scored 23 points in Toronto’s win over Miami on Nov. 16.

The Raptors remain without Scottie Barnes (knee sprain), Pascal Siakam (adductor strain), Precious Achiuwa (ankle sprain), Dalano Banton (ankle sprain), Otto Porter Jr. (dislocated toe), and Justin Champagnie (back soreness).

And they looked like they were in for a long night after a terrible start Saturday. But they clawed their way back, taking their first lead early in the second half, and were up by as many as 11 points late in the third quarter. Anunoby and VanVleet combined for 16 points in the third and Toronto led 81-73 to start the fourth.

Dallas reclaimed the lead, but when Boucher threw down a one-handed alley-oop dunk from VanVleet with 6:57 to play, the basket put Toronto up 90-85.

Anunoby scored six straight points to put the Raptors up by a point before Boucher was fouled on a jumper with 31.4 seconds to play, falling to the floor. The Montreal native waved his arms up and down for the Scotiabank Arena fans โ€” who were on their feet โ€” to cheer. They delightedly obliged.

Doncic replied with a jumper, then Thaddeus Young hit two free throws for a three-point Toronto lead with 16.6 seconds to play. Dorian Finney-Smith tossed an errant pass with 5.0 seconds left straight into the hands of Young, and that was the game.

The Raptors stumbled out to a horrible start and trailed by 15 points midway through the frame. The Mavs were so dominant that Dwight Powell stopped to tie his shoe for an entire Dallas possession and the Mavs still scored on it.

Boucher provided a big spark off the bench with 10 points and six rebounds, and the Raptors closed the quarter with a 17-7 run and trailed 29-24 to start the second.

Toronto continued to eat at the deficit…

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