Raptors top Cavaliers in Toronto debuts of Canadian RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley

Pascal Siakam scored 36 points as the new-look Raptors held off the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers 124-121 on Monday in the Toronto debuts of RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley.

Barrett finished with 19 point and nine rebounds two days after he was traded to the Raptors (13-20) by the New York Knicks. Quickley, who was typically a reserve for New York, finished with 14 points.

Scottie Barnes finished with 20 points as six Raptors scored in double digits, including Jakob Poeltl who had 14 points and 11 boards for a double-double.

Donovan Mitchell led Cleveland (18-15) with 26 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Caris LeVert came off the bench for 31 points.

Barrett and Quickley started for the Raptors after they were traded to Toronto from New York on Saturday.

WATCH | Barrett excited to play for hometown team:

Basketball star RJ Barrett traded home to the Toronto Raptors

Canadian basketball fans are buzzing about a trade that’s sending RJ Barrett from the New York Knicks to the Toronto Raptors. Barrett grew up near Toronto, and says he’s excited to be playing for his hometown team.

Toronto sent forwards OG Anunoby and Precious Achiuwa as well as guard Malachi Flynn to the Knicks for Barrett, Quickley, and a second-round pick in the 2024 NBA Draft.

Barrett, from Mississauga, Ont., was one of the key players on Canada’s bronze-medal team at the FIBA World Cup in September.

“Obviously, adding two new players in the middle of the season is challenging,” said Raptors head coach Darko Rajakovic before the game. “We met yesterday, we had a chance to talk a little bit about offence and defence, we met early this morning before shootaround to go over some basic stuff and game preparation for tonight.”

Quickley had an immediate impact, scoring Toronto’s first points with a three-pointer 56 seconds into the first quarter. Barrett got an assist on the play.

WATCH NBA TV Canada’s Akil Augustine analyzes Raptors-Knicks trade:

Raptors-Knicks deal ‘huge’ for Toronto fans: NBA TV host

The Toronto Raptors are sending OG Anunoby, Precious Achiuwa and Malachi Flynn to the New York Knicks for Canadian swingman RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley and a 2024 second-round draft pick. The deal is instrumental to helping the Raptors build a young roster around Scottie Barnes, says Akil Augustine, a host and producer at NBA TV Canada.

Siakam hit a three-pointer with three seconds left in the first to give Toronto a 41-32 lead at the end of the quarter.

It was the most points the Raptors has scored in a first quarter all season, and a point behind their highest score in any quarter this season. Toronto had 42 in the second quarter of its 129-127 loss in Detroit on Saturday.

Raptors go on run in 2nd quarter

A 13-2 Raptors run built an 18-point lead for the hosts in the second quarter. Mitchell hit an 18-foot jumper with two seconds left in the half to cut that lead to single digits, with Toronto carrying a 67-59 lead into intermission.

Barnes made a shot with 5:33 left in the third to reach the 3,000-point mark in his NBA career, the second youngest player in team history to hit the milestone (22 years, 153 days). Chris Bosh was 21 years, 291 days when he reached the milestone.

Siakam scored 13 points in the third quarter as Toronto maintained a 98-91 lead.

After a quick 7-3 Cavaliers’ run to open the fourth, Mitchell intercepted a Barrett pass 2:27 into the quarter and passed to George Niang for the easy layup to pull Cleveland to within a point of the Raptors.

The teams traded points and the lead for most of the fourth quarter, until Siakam hit a turnaround jump shot with 3:33 left to play to give Toronto a 118-116 lead.

After several turnovers by both teams, Mitchell hit a free throw with 2:28 to go. Boos rained down from the sold-out Scotiabank Arena crowd of 19,800 as he missed his second free throw.

Fans had been quiet for most of the night, but the fourth’s roller-coaster score brought them to life. They cheered when Jarrett Allen made only one of his two free throws to tie it and cheered when Barnes laid it in at the other end for a 120-118 lead.

A pair of Cavaliers misses allowed the Raptors to wind down the clock, but Toronto also couldn’t score as the clock ticked down. Barnes jumped up for a critical defensive rebound with 13 seconds to go and was immediately fouled.

He made one of his two free throws to extend the Raptors lead, but Thompson rebounded the second shot for a Cleveland timeout with 12.8 seconds left to tie it up.

Allen was allowed to drive to the net for an uncontested layup and on the ensuing Toronto inbound Barrett was fouled. He hit both free throws to make it 123-120 for his hometown team.

Mitchell was fouled on the next Cavaliers inbound but could only make one free throw. Barnes was fouled again with 1.1 seconds left to play and he made one of his free throws for the game’s final score.

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