I don’t have a ton to say on this game seeing as there was literally no way to watch it if you weren’t in the building – I don’t have a huge problem with every preseason game not being broadcast but I will say that it seems like strange policy to me to do every game besides the final one. In any case, though, let’s take a look at the box score and see if we can pull a few nuggets of information out of there. So this is what it was like following basketball before the Internet!
Raps beat the Grizzlies and finish the preseason with a 6 and 1 record. The win last night wasn’t particularly telling – a loss would have said a lot more about the Raps, who played more or less their entire group of regulars against a Grizzlies team that sat four starters, including Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. Ed Davis and Alan Anderson were the players on the Raptors roster that didn’t see the court (besides Jamaal Magloire, who was waived today as many expected) – ED was being held out of the game for precautionary reasons because of a bruised hip but should be good to go for Opening Night. No word on why Anderson didn’t play as far as I can tell.
Our old friend Jerryd Bayless started for the Grizzlies and posted a very Lowry-esque stat line, finishing with 17 points, 7 boards, and 5 assists in just 19 minutes of action. The Grizzlies “starters” in general performed quite well as a group at the outset of the game, jumping out to a big lead in the first quarter against the Raptors’ first unit. These slow starts are getting to be a bit of a pattern for Toronto now and it’s something that coach Casey is going to have to find a solution to before the regular season starts and we aren’t playing other teams’ depleted rosters.
As for our stats, it is nice to see the team put up a big number of points on a regular basis, with 120 tonight. DeMar had a quiet game but I’d imagine that’s largely due to being guarded by Tony Allen for the majority of his minutes – I’m disappointed I wasn’t able to watch their matchup live as it was one of the things I was looking forward to most from this game. Another nice game for Jonas, who picked up 15 and 7 against the likes of Jerome Jordan and Hamed Haddadi, and Bargnani picked up 21 with a just single board, which I’d say is troubling, but it’s not like we aren’t used to stat lines like that from Bargs.
Lowry had another excellent stat line, with 18 points to go with 7 assists and 4 rebounds. We’ve written about him at length this pre-season but I just wanted to re-iterate how exciting it is to have a guy like this on the team this year; he’s a bulldog, an emotional leader and an excellent all-round player and a big reason why this team is thinking playoffs this season. T-Ross got a lot of burn last night and proceeded to shoot 12 times (with eight 3-point attempts!), making 4 of them for a 10 point night. It’s tough to evaluate Ross’ game last night based off a box score, but it does seem like he’s still adjusting to the pace of the NBA, like most rookies. Luckily for him, this is a deep squad this season and he’ll have the luxury of being eased into the game, unlike DD who had to start from the outset. Another great game for Amir, who picked up 15 points in 14 minutes: he’s had a great preseason and seems to be finally realizing some of the potential it seems like people have been waiting years for.
As for the excellent pre-season record, it’s certainly nothing to sneeze at (it’s the best mark in franchise history) but more important than the result is the tone this team has set over the past couple weeks. It’s clear that coach Casey isn’t going to let these guys take a night off, and it seems like we have a group that’s bought into the “all for one and one for all” mentality that’s going to be their key to success this season. The team appears improved at every position from last year and it’s left me (and most Raptors fans) more excited for this season than any in recent memory. The pre-season may be meaningless, but it is a lot more fun when the team is winning!
Regardless of your thoughts on the pre-season, the wait is finally (almost) over: the regular season starts on October 31st (Wednesday) at home against the Pacers. Four more days!