NBA: RJ Barrett shines in Raptors' rout of Warriors | Inquirer Sports

NBA: RJ Barrett shines in Raptors’ rout of Warriors

/ 12:50 PM January 08, 2024

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Toronto Raptors forward RJ Barrett (9) lays up a shot over Golden State Warriors forward Jonathan Kuminga (00) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron)

SAN FRANCISCO — RJ Barrett took some of the talking points from film study and applied them as he continues to adjust and find his way in a new system.

Barrett scored a season-high 37 points in his fourth game since being traded to his hometown Toronto team, leading the Raptors past the Golden State Warriors 133-118 on Sunday night.

“I’m trying to play the right way and help my teammates,” Barrett said. “A lot of learning going on. I’m still learning the defensive system, trying to get better at that every day watching film. But I’m just trying to help, that’s all I’m trying to do.”

Stephen Curry had an especially off night, finishing 2 for 14 with nine points and missing all nine of his 3-pointers in his second-lowest scoring total this season and also his second in single digits.

Barrett, acquired from the Knicks on Dec. 30 and making his Raptors debut on New Year’s Day, made 11 of his first 14 shots and wound up 13 for 20 from the floor with six rebounds and six assists. Former Warrior Chris Boucher came off the bench to contribute 17 points and nine rebounds.

“I thought RJ was great today,” coach Darko Rajakovic said. “Obviously he scored a lot but I was really proud of his playmaking. He had six assists, he played unselfishly, he was trying to make the right plays every time down the court and also I really liked the force he was attacking the rim. That’s something that we talked about.”

Klay Thompson scored 25 points on a night Curry missed his first seven shots and never found his 3-point groove. He finally connected for his first basket of the game on a layup with 8:42 left in the third quarter.

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“Defensively I thought that we were very disruptive, we really wanted to get them out of their rhythm and their patterns,” Rajakovic said.

Thompson’s 3 with 3:03 left in the period pulled the Warriors within 93-80. Yet Toronto found answers to every threat. And Golden State hardly looked in sync yet again after losing veteran guard Chris Paul to a broken left hand during Friday’s win against Detroit that will require surgery.

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Kevon Looney had 10 points and seven rebounds off the bench Sunday, when Draymond Green returned to the practice floor for the Warriors’ pregame walkthrough a day after being reinstated by the NBA following a 12-game suspension.

Cold-shooting Golden State couldn’t overcome a huge first-half deficit. The Warriors shot 39.2% to trail 76-49 at the break, going 5 for 25 from 3-point range in the opening half on the way to 14 of 46 from deep overall. Fans booed the bad start.

“We got punched in the mouth right away,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “They just took it to us.”

Raptors forward Otto Porter Jr. received his 2022 championship ring from Curry before the game. Porter didn’t return to Chase Center last season, and he earned a warm welcome and ovation.

“It feels like it was just the other day,” an appreciative Porter said on the court after the game.

Toronto never trailed. The Raptors went ahead 7-0, making their initial three shots, and shot 16 of 25 to begin the game and take a 36-23 lead after the opening quarter.

The Warriors had won the last three in the series at home.

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UP NEXT

Raptors: At the Lakers on Tuesday night.

Warriors: Host the Pelicans on Wednesday night.

TAGS: Golden State Warriors, NBA, RJ Barrett, Toronto Raptors

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