Quick Reaction: Blazers 104, Raptors 122

11 mins read
Portland 104 Final
Box Score
122 Toronto

C. Miles15 MIN, 9 PTS, 1 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 2-3 FG, 2-3 3FG, 3-4 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 8 +/-

CJ also got the start in this one. His shooting prowess is something Toronto will need all season long. It’s simple — he drastically opens up the game for others while forcing defences to pay attention to where he is every minute he’s on the floor.

K. Leonard19 MIN, 12 PTS, 1 REB, 3 AST, 1 STL, 3-8 FG, 0-4 3FG, 6-11 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 10 +/-

This might’ve been the most anticipated Raptors debut in franchise history. Why? A true, bonafide superstar donning the Raptors uniform. What rust? Leonard didn’t look like a man who hasn’t played NBA basketball in a full calendar year. Considering everything he’s been through recently, he looked great (free throws aside). All aboard the hype train.

S. Ibaka12 MIN, 3 PTS, 2 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 0-1 FG, 0-0 3FG, 3-3 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, -3 +/-

Nurse started Ibaka at the ‘five’ after hinting during the offseason Serge’s position change would be fluid. Ibaka rewarded that decision early as he came out with tons of energy, unleashing a massive rejection on Portland’s Jake Layman. Shortly after, he was punished by Nurkic on two consecutive possessions forcing JV to enter the game. If you were wondering, that’s the downside to Ibaka at center.

K. Lowry19 MIN, 15 PTS, 4 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 3-6 FG, 1-4 3FG, 8-8 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 10 +/-

Everyone and their mothers were wondering what Lowry would look like beside new Raptors superstar, Kawhi Leonard. Small sample size, but things looked super smooth offensively with Lowry at the helm. As per usual, the feistiness and on-court leadership was present in full force.

D. Green20 MIN, 5 PTS, 3 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 1-6 FG, 1-5 3FG, 2-2 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 14 +/-

Like Kawhi, Danny had to get acclimated to Nurse’s system but had no problem finding open shots. He just wasn’t hitting them tonight. Good thing about Green is that he provides immense value defensively too, which is why he’ll be a crucial part of Toronto’s season.

P. Siakam21 MIN, 6 PTS, 13 REB, 3 AST, 0 STL, 3-10 FG, 0-3 3FG, 0-1 FT, 0 BLK, 3 TO, 3 +/-

Siakam’s offseason has been well-documented across the league. He’s been impressing in just about every basketball-related gathering he’s been part of. Drew League, NBA training sessions, training camp. Easily Toronto’s favourite choice for MIP this season, and from what was seen in this game — for good reason.

N. Powell20 MIN, 8 PTS, 3 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 3-5 FG, 2-3 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 12 +/-

Powell was undoubtedly the forgotten man last season. He’ll do everything it takes to claim stake in the Raptors rotation. There’s not much room left, but the preseason should be a good starting point for him to make a statement. Norm looked comfortable and didn’t have to do too much. We’ll see more.

J. Valanciunas19 MIN, 17 PTS, 7 REB, 1 AST, 3 STL, 4-8 FG, 0-2 3FG, 9-9 FT, 1 BLK, 3 TO, 17 +/-

In Nurse’s early lineup experimentation, JV was removed from the starting five in favour of Serge Ibaka. That didn’t faze him whatsoever. Valanciunas came out blazing, dominating the boards and showing off his nifty moves (finger-roll? Ok, JV). Great game in limited time for Jonas.

F. VanVleet17 MIN, 11 PTS, 1 REB, 3 AST, 0 STL, 4-6 FG, 3-4 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 10 +/-

Fredderick Edmund VanVleet, how we’ve missed you so. A 2017-2018 candidate for the NBA’s 6th Man of the Year award and coming off a freshly-signed contract, VanVleet looked solid in this one. In terms of bench players, it’s difficult to point out a single player in the league who’s a more well-rounded basketball player than FVV. I don’t see any glaring weaknesses in his game.

D. Wright16 MIN, 5 PTS, 1 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 2-6 FG, 0-1 3FG, 1-2 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, -6 +/-

Delon got some extended run near the end of the game in typical preseason fashion. Like the rest of the bench mob, Wright will play a massive role in Toronto’s rotation this season. Oh, and if Jake Layman’s day couldn’t get any worse with the Ibaka swat, Wright viciously pinned his layup attempt, too.

L. Brown15 MIN, 10 PTS, 1 REB, 1 AST, 2 STL, 4-7 FG, 2-2 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 1 +/-

Lorenzo came off a fantastic season with the Raptors 905, winning the G-League MVP award while placing in a runner-up finish in the G-League Finals. Toronto’s front office rewarded him with a partially guaranteed contract for the 2018-19 season. He only saw time tonight once Toronto’s lead began to expand, but looked really good.

G. Monroe12 MIN, 8 PTS, 6 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 1-4 FG, 0-0 3FG, 6-7 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, 2 +/-

Monroe isn’t expected to have a massive bench role this season, especially if Nurse sticks to the small-ball lineups he’s been salivating to feature. This doesn’t mean Greg won’t have a role, as he serves as very good center depth. He was an absolute terror on the boards tonight but missed quite a few ‘gimmes’. Energy was fully there on both ends.

M. Richardson11 MIN, 5 PTS, 0 REB, 0 AST, 1 STL, 2-4 FG, 1-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 2 BLK, 3 TO, -3 +/-

Unless something drastic happens to the Raptors roster health (knock on wood), Malachi won’t see much action this season. He’s mostly still a one-on-one player at this stage of his career, and honestly looks awkward on the floor with his contrasting playing style. He did stretch the floor well at times.

J. Loyd9 MIN, 2 PTS, 1 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 1-3 FG, 0-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 7 +/-

Not enough minutes for Loyd tonight.

C. Boucher5 MIN, 0 PTS, 1 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 0-4 FG, 0-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 2 +/-

Not a lot to judge Boucher on, but you can see where he makes his money. This kid is a pterodactyl.

K. Felder5 MIN, 6 PTS, 1 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 1-2 FG, 0-1 3FG, 4-4 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 2 +/-

Not enough from Felder, either. Had a defensive mishap, but attacked the rim.

E. Moreland3 MIN, 0 PTS, 0 REB, 0 AST, 1 STL, 0-0 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 4 +/-

We’ll see more from Moreland later in the preseason.

O. Anunoby0 MIN, 0 PTS, 0 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 0-0 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 0 +/-

Usually I don’t even bother with players who were inactive, but for those wondering — Anunoby was out of this game due to what Toronto called “personal reasons”. Hope everything’s well with OG.

Dwane Casey

Nurse’s first game as the Raptors head coach was encouraging. In terms of overall team chemistry, things looked like they picked up right where they left off last season. The starters (although the regular season final five hasn’t been determined) looked very solid. In one of the more assuring storylines to this game, Leonard meshed well with the team.

Things We Saw

  1. Kawhi Leonard is a Toronto Raptor. Kawhi Leonard is a Toronto Raptor. Kawhi Leonard is a Toronto Raptor. Hopefully you don’t have to keep reminding yourself. No, I mean seriously. Leonard last played NBA basketball roughly nine months ago. Considering the circumstances (new team, new city, media hoopla), Leonard came out… like Kawhi Leonard. Get excited, people.
  2. It’s hard to overreact too much to preseason (I think I did that enough with Leonard), but damn did Lowry and Valanciunas look good. For one, Lowry attacked the rim like a man possessed and didn’t give the Portland guards a break. Two, his chemistry with Kawhi was extremely promising. Three, and this is great news — teams are falling for JV’s pick-and-pop pump fakes. This is exactly what Nurse envisioned when he made it a goal for JV to work tirelessly on his 3PT shooting ability.
  3. If you couldn’t tell sitting at home listening to this rabid crowd, yes — it was a sellout in Van City. This should go unsaid, but goodness gracious. Let’s get the city of Vancouver an NBA team, for goodness sake.

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