TORONTO, April 19 (Xinhua) -- Toronto Raptors' center Jonas Valanciunas made his NBA playoff debut with a franchise-best 13 defensive rebounds and 18 total rebounds in Toronto's 94-87 loss against the Brooklyn on Saturday afternoon.
Valanciunas also recorded 17 points to become the second-ever Raptors player to record a double-double in their playoff debut.
Ex-Raptor Tracy McGrady recorded 25 points and 10 rebounds in his playoff debut in 2000 against New York Knicks.
Raptors head coach Dwane Casey was impressed with the effort of the second-year big man.
"I thought Jonas played big time," said Casey. "He grew up today and that was huge for us."
Throughout the game, Valanciunas battled with future-hall of famer Kevin Garnett who was unable to handle the size and physicality of the Lithuanian-native. Valanciunas finished the game with five offensive rebounds and thirteen defensive rebounds for eighteen total rebounds.
Valanciunas' efforts surpassed former Raptors Keon Clark's sixteen-rebound effort in 2002 against Pistons and Charles Oakley's twelve defensive rebounds in 2000 against Knicks.
"He (Garnett)'s trying to show that he can do it. I'm doing the same thing. I'm trying to show him that I can protect the rim, rebound and score," Valanciunas said following the game on his battles with Garnett. "I'm just going 100 percent with energy. Sometimes it goes the right way, sometimes not."
In 81 games during the regular season, Valanciunas averaged 11.3 points and 8.8 rebounds in 28.2 minutes per game on 53 percent shooting, improvements from his first-year averages of 8.9 points, 6.0 rebounds, 23.9 minutes and 56 percent shooting.
Teammate Kyle Lowry believes Valanciunas is capable of more than 18 rebounds if he continues to be active on the boards.
"As aggressive as he was, we need him to be more aggressive and grab more rebounds," said Lowry following the game. "He's been playing better for the past couple of week. We just need him to keep playing that way,"
In the final 12 games of the season, Valanciunas averaged 16.3 points, 10.8 rebounds on 60 percent shooting.
"He's only going to get better. I think he'll keep building off of this one," said Lowry.
Valanciunas' performance will be crucial if Toronto hopes to make a deep playoff run.