Morning Coffee – Fri, Oct 9

Lakers no match for Lowry/Raptors | Celtics a threat? | Another preview of the Raptors

Raptors’ James Johnson looking forward to playing time | Toronto Sun

There are calls for more minutes for Bruno Caboclo whenever he’s on the bench. There are pleas for more end-of-game minutes for Jonas Valanciunas (which he is expected to get this year). But with Johnson there’s this simmering outrage if he does not see the floor. Johnson, if he is aware of the widespread love he gets from the fans, does not play it up although he is a guy who has fallen hard for the city. Johnson, in fact, chose to remain in Toronto all summer. Part of it was the chance to train with assistant coach Jama Mahlalela — who has been a constant help to Johnson in his years in Toronto — but part of it too was by choice. “I love it there,” Johnson said Thursday morning following shoot around at UCLA. “I’m not making this stuff up. I love it out there in the Six.” But Mahlalela’s presence was a big part of the decision too. “It was Jama,” Johnson said. “He does a lot of work with me. I was fortunate to get a lot of workouts with Dwane too. He got to see the progress. I got to see what he wants and where I’m going to get my scoring opportunities from just from him working me out. They will always put you in positions to succeed so having him there working me out and Jama there working me out, there was no other place I wanted to be.”

Recap: Raptors 105, Lakers 97 (Oct. 8) | Getting Benched

James Johnson continues to not receive any meaningful playing time or sets called for him on offense. It’s fairly evident that he’ll be the third-string power forward, and he looks very much out of place when he plays as a four. He doesn’t quite know when to roll, he’s lost on their high HORNs play and he just doesn’t look comfortable.

Raptors Beat Lakers 105-97 in Third Preseason Outing | Raptors HQ

After a couple games of seeing new-look Lowry, it’s obvious he’s attacking quicker while getting his shooting stroke back. If this is a sign of what’s to come in the regular season, we should all be really excited. Here he is knocking down a three. Another reason to be excited is DeMarre Carroll. After leading the team in scoring against Golden State, Carroll had 18 against the Lakers, shooting an efficient 6-for-10 from the field and 3-for-5 from distance. He was also refreshingly active given it’s the preseason, at one point diving into the second row to recover a loose ball. Cory Joseph was solid off the bench with 14 points, showing all parts of an offensive game that may exceed the expectations of Raptor fans.

Randle Shines, Defense Stutters in Loss | Los Angeles Lakers

“It’s not the offense right now,” Scott said. “We’re shooting the ball well. We’re moving the ball well. We’re just not guarding people really well. The effort’s there, but we’re just getting beat on little things that we’re talking about and harping about. As I told (the team), we’re three weeks away — less than that. So they better start getting it quick.” In particular, Raptors point guards Kyle Lowry (25 points) and Cory Joseph (18 points) both took advantage of the Lakers’ inability to stay in front of the ball by hitting 8-of-13 clips. “Containing the dribble,” Scott said. “That was the biggest thing. That’s what I talked to our guys about: trying to do a much better job of containing the dribble and keep it out of the middle of the floor. We just didn’t do a good job. The effort was great, but we’ve got to understand what we’re trying to do.”

Lakers vs Raptors Final Score: Lakers fall to Toronto 105-97 despite late surge | Silver Screen and Roll

The Lakers couldn’t contain Lowry or the three-point shot. Toronto’s star point guard hit four threes on six attempts and the Raptors hit 10 treys on 21 attempts for the game. Los Angeles was able to close on drivers, but couldn’t prevent effective kickout passes to open shooters.

Julius Randle Stars But Lakers Lose to Raptors | NBC Southern California

With point guard D’Angelo Russell out of the lineup, Randle picked up some of the slack and played as a point forward pushing the ball with purpose. At one point, the 6-foot 9-inch forward dribbled behind his back to avoid a defender and found a wide open Bryant standing at the ready at the three-point line. Bryant knocked down the shot, and the fast break speed at which the sequence occurred should have had fans at home salivating. Fans in attendance collectively gasped at the dribbling and wildly applauded the pass before erupting on Bryant’s made basket. Watching a player of Randle’s size evade defenders and dribble past opponents hinted at the special talent the Lakers now have on their roster.

Lakers Lose to Raptors 105-97, Fall to 0-3 in Preseason | Forum Blue And Gold

Having Hibbert to protect the paint helps the defense so much, but he can’t solve all this team’s problems. The perimeter guys still make too many mistakes within possessions, messing up the scheme’s continuity in the process. For example, on one play, Nick Young had his man in good position along the sideline, but didn’t keep him contained and allowed him to dribble middle. When that happened, Clarkson over-helped on the drive and left his man open beyond the arc. Young’s man then hit Clarkson’s man who buried the wide open three. This was a recurring theme all night. Related: the Raptors hit 10 of their 21 three pointers.

Preview: Toronto Raptors | HoopsHype

Opponents converted 45.9 percent of their shots vs. Toronto in 2014-15 … If there’s no progress defensively, Toronto just can’t contend in the East … While the team features several magnificent players, they could use a full-blown NBA star … Perimeter players need to improve shooting percentages significantly … DeRozan, Lowry and Terrence Ross shot a combined 41.2 percent from the field last season …  Valanciunas should be a more featured guy offensively … Will Cory Joseph deliver away from the Spurs’ paradise? … Can they get anything out of Anthony Bennett and Bismack Biyombo, who have been notable flops in the league so far? … Will they miss glue guy Amir Johnson? … Free-throw shooting must get better.

Celtics could give Raptors a run in the Atlantic | TSN

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Terrence Ross Is Ready To Bring More To The Raptors This Year | Pro Bball Report

One of the things that will help Ross this season is the addition of some solid veterans he can learn from. DeMarre Carroll is taking Ross’ spot in the starting lineup, but Carroll is a player that had to work hard in order to get into this position and Ross can learn a lot from him. Scola is another veteran who has built his reputation on hard work and doing things the right way. Ross has some great examples to look to. “It’s nice, a lot of guys that have been to the playoffs, been to the finals, won championships, there is a lot of experience on the team now,” Ross explained. “(Scola’s) I.Q., his knowledge of the game, his experience, it rubs off on everybody and helps everybody kind of mature faster. It helps everybody up their game that much more.”

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Alex Gallardo

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