Raptors 74, Suns 73

Starters: Nichols, Ibekwe, O’Bryant, Ukic, DeRozan

It’s 18-17 Suns early in the second and the only Raptor who’s showing a signal of intent is DeMar DeRozan who’s giving us the mid-range game yet again.

All eyes on Ukic really and right now he’s struggling to create off the bounce for anyone. Just two points.

Our man Ukic just nailed an airball. Never knew that anyone could nail an airball but he sure did. Good kid, though. It’s 22-21 Suns and the boxscore tells me Patrick O’Bryant is 2-4. I have to agree, he’s got that 2-4 look on his face.

Ukic continually picks up his dribble below the FT line and tries to pump-fake his way into a clean look, it never works. Patrick claps his hands after missing easy looks. Not exactly “tough”.

They’re talking to Robert Sarver, the owner of the Suns who is saying that the Suns are rebuilding without actually saying that the Suns are rebuilding. He calls it being in “transition”. Say that Amare will remain a Sun. Ukic misses technical FT.

DeRozan with another nice score: drive, stop, score. He’s got 6 points. Smush is showing some defensive purpose tonight, deflecting balls and such. Hopefully he can impress Sarver.

An absolutely gorgeous move by DeRozan, he got challenged by the defense which was up in his face. He sized him up, went baseline to his right, stopped, spun and then drained 10-foot fadeaway. Bottom of the net, a true professional move. It’s 27-26 Suns with 2:58 left in the second. Smush still playing the point with Douby off the ball, not nearly dominating the ball as much as he’s been.

DeMar DeRozan with another face-up jumper. Same douchebag was challenging him again with his knees bent, DeRozan rose high from 21 feet to drain it. 32-31 Suns, offense running OK under Smush since he’s letting DeRozan and Douby do the handling.

Some good hustle out there by the Raps. Parker hits a jumper, this lineup with DeRozan and Douby is working out nicely. Raptors call timeout with 3.2 left in the half. Nice. 34-34 at the half. Suns shooting 33%, Raptors shooting 44% but the Suns do have 12 turnovers.

Paul Davis manages to get rejected on the last play of the half. Check the latest box score.

3rd quarter starts and O’Bryant gets on the high side of his man and lets him go for a dunk. Comes back to hit that feathery 20 footer which doesn’t do the Raptors any good, we need him playing 7 feet and in.

The Suns are keeping a close eye on Earl Clark who’s 3-7 for 6.

Maurizio Gherardini is now talking to the announcers. The announcer butchers his name.

Ukic hits a left wing jumper, confident but ugly release. Worth a mention.

Gherardini says the Raptors team reflects the nature of the city, what with the different nationalities and all. Announcer asks him about Marco Belinelli who Maurizio thinks needs to prove he can play at this level but could do it.

Ukic must’ve seen Maurizio and upped himself – an aggressive drive to the rim and a finish. 44-43 Raps!

Announcer tells Maurizio that Joey Graham is a player others might like on the Raptors. This guy’s clueless. What a terrible interview, is he still talking about Belinelli???

Says Hedo changes the team drastically because he can create from the small-forward position. Announcer asks Gherardini whether it was a tough decision to move Marion (not knowing we offered him a pretty good contract) and Gherardini says “Not really” but not in so many words.

They’re talking about DeRozan who throws down a left-handed dunk on the alley-oop – pass made by Ibekwe.

The other announcer is smarter. He asks that American’s were relying on athleticism too much and Europeans reminded them of how important actual fundamental and skills are, asks him if he agrees. Gherardini says the longer international season (club, country) and earlier start in basketball allows them to develop skills quicker. Compare this to NCAA you basically get 2-4 years, says Europe has specialized coaching and more time is given to player development. They basically spend a lot more time on the game than the American athlete.

Gherardini says Douby has a very good chance of sticking with the club. Says he appreciates his game and didn’t take a single day off after the season ended, says he’s shown good approach and dedication to improve his game. Basically said he’ll make the roster and will have a chance to play some minutes.

Smarter announcer asks him what the Raptors will do to help DeRozan in Toronto. Replies that DeRozan has an excellent family which will help. Says he will easily adjust to the city and thinks that the Raptors have a very easy group of players to grow into and its like a European team where they all stick together.

It’s 55-48 Suns, the Raptors have gone in a shooting slump with Ukic, Douby, Davis all missing makeable shots. The last basket I remember is DeRozan on a drive, he’s got 18 on 8-11 shooting. Impressive. Douby is being very unselfish today, looking off make the pass off the initial drive.

When asked who he’s got his eye on he says “the guys that we’re counting on” are doing fine and mentions Ukic, Douby and O’Bryant. No mention of Smush, oh no.

Douby pushes it in transition against a lazy Suns defense to draw the foul to get two FTs. It’s 57-52 at the end of the third. The Suns only turned the ball over once in this quarter as opposed to 12 in the first half. DeRozan has 18, Earl Clark has 10.

Raptors defense is actually pretty good, strong hedging, good recovery, the refs are calling some touchy fouls here. Both teams are playing relatively hard. Douby and Parker start the fourth for the Raptors as Ukic takes a rest.

Shawn Taggart makes a strong move in transition to draw the foul but its all for naught, he’s got as much chance as sticking with any club as me.

Robin Lopez is looking good for a banger. He’s bringing to the Suns what we hope O’Bryant brings for us. Brent Petway hasn’t shown us much tonight, he’s got tremendous athleticism but is nowhere to be seen today, a very inconspicuous four points so far.

How patient has Smush been? He’s taken 1 shot in 15 minutes. It’s 62-55 Suns and they call a hook on Smush who was driving and kicking – bad call.

Fact: After DeRozan, Douby is the best player on the court for both teams, at least the one with the most ability to do something with the ball when given to him. Parker’s just not being aggressive enough to make an impression whereas Douby is playing real hard and aggressive. He must smell that roster spot.

They’re talking about O’Bryant now. Analysis of him is that he never adjusted to the physicality of the NBA game and he just hasn’t dedicated himself to building up an NBA body.

Now they’re talking about Ukic and this guy’s way off about him: Says he’s a great floor general. True stuff about his length and ability to drive, no mention of his tunnel-vision.

Douby with another strong drive to the rim, he’s sweating man, he’s sweating more than every other Raptor combined. A+ for effort. It’s 64-58 Suns. Six minutes left.

Another Douby drive leads to Roko being left open on the elbow, nice pass leads to a Roko layup. Douby is the fastest guy on the floor.

Douby with another drive and finishes high off the glass over extended defense. It’s 69-62 as some dude named Zabian Dowdell crossed over Ukic and then pulled back for a 20-foot J.

Douby pushes it again in transition and hands to cutting Roko who gets fouled. Roko goes 1-2, it’s 69-63 with 4 minutes left.

Raptors defense having trouble with dribble penetration and O’Bryant’s help is laughable. Ekene Ibekwe puts the offensive rebound in, he’s probably the best no-name Raptor player of the day and as soon as I say that he gets rejected on a one-on-one move. 7 points on 3-7.

Oh Roko Roko, had a path to the rim on the break, slowed down and stopped instead to let the defense catch up to him and used the fake which wasn’t bought – missed two footer. Where’s that sense of the game we saw from him at times last year?

It’s 71-65, 2:20 left. O’Bryant with a dunk on the break but overall a highly unimpressive game form him, 8 points on 4-9 shooting but only 6 rebounds. Got banged around by Robin Lopez too often and fell for his fakes way too easily. This is Robin Lopez here, not Brook.

Missed FTs, a Suns TO, a three by Douby and a tap-in by Petway and its a one point Raptor league. Suns just fell apart here.

Raps get the ball back, Douby misses and the Suns have a chance to win it, the guard drives all the way to the rim and has a makeable layup (although tough) but Ibekwe comes in for the great block – he’s down, hit his chin on the ground. Game-winning block!

Raps win 74-73 and improve to 2-2 in the summer league. A great performance by DeMar DeRozan who had 20 on 9-16 shooting, Ibekwe with the game winning block and 11 big rebounds. Douby continued his good play with 16 points off the bench, to me he had his best game because he constantly pushed and passed, especially in that fourth quarter.

Box Score

@raptorsrepublic

Tags: