What most impressed Casey was the resolve and the depth in the team’s most impressive pre-season game to date. There was another sluggish start, but from the second quarter on the Raptors gave as good as they got at both ends of the floor and won easily.
By the way, we saw a lot of pick-and-roll, no matter the point guard on the floor. I’d wager there were more on-ball screens set than there were Knick possessions.
“I want to say one thing about the fans here, I don’t know if we can bottle it up and take it back to Toronto but they were exciting fans, great fans, packed house, guys on the sideline were yelling at the referees and getting on them, and it felt like we were in an NBA city,” Raptors coach Dwayne Casey said.
After four straight lackluster preseason performances from “Il Mago”, we finally have reason to show optimism towards a return to form for one Andrea Bargnani.
After looking like the Knicks might run away with it at one point in the first half, the Raptors turned the tables and ended up cruising to their third straight pre-season win and fourth overall in front of what sounded like an awesome capacity crowd in Montreal.
The Raptors struggled early, falling behind by 13 points, but powered back behind Kyle Lowry, who played superb defence and hit a halftime buzzer-beater to square the game.
In the end Lowry finished with 17 points, five assists and four rebounds and for good measure he hit 5-of-6 from behind the arc on the game. He brought an energy that the Raptors have sorely lacked for several seasons running and he made it perfectly clear why the club was so enthusiastic when they traded for him this summer.
This was a step up in competition and the Raptors responded. Easily the best game of the pre-season for Andrea Bargnani who finished with 20 points, 7 rebounds (Not a Typo) and 2 blocks. (Also Not a Typo) Lots of good things in this game. A lot to like about these new look Raptors.