Quick Reaction

Quick Reaction: Raptors 118, Nets 91

Brooklyn 91 Final
Box Score
118 Toronto

B
O. Anunoby29 MIN, 5 PTS, 7 REB, 0 AST, 1 STL, 2-5 FG, 1-2 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 6 +/-

OG returned to the hardwood after missing most of preseason for personal issues. Although he got off to a shaky start, picking up three fouls in the first half, he eventually settled down and looked like his usual self on defence, smothering attackers alongside newcomer Kawhi Leonard.

Although it’d be nice to see more of the offence run through OG, this game was about him getting back into the feel of things. He looked good.

B+
K. Leonard31 MIN, 11 PTS, 5 REB, 7 AST, 4 STL, 3-10 FG, 0-1 3FG, 5-6 FT, 1 BLK, 1 TO, 22 +/-

Although Leonard’s shot and dribble still look rusty, Kawhi was a beast on defence today, picking up four steals by playing aggressive and using his length to poke away balls.

Offensively, Leonard impressed today by showing off his strength and playmaking skills.

C
S. Ibaka19 MIN, 13 PTS, 5 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 5-9 FG, 1-3 3FG, 2-2 FT, 3 BLK, 1 TO, 2 +/-

Ibaka has settled into playing the five on the defensive side of things, staying in front of his opponent while gathering rebounds and eating up blocks.

Unfortunately, Ibaka still needs to settle in on offence. He needs to stop taking long pull-up twos and either attack the paint, where he has been really effective, or take the three without hesitation.

D
K. Lowry20 MIN, 5 PTS, 3 REB, 6 AST, 2 STL, 1-6 FG, 1-4 3FG, 2-3 FT, 0 BLK, 6 TO, 4 +/-

Lowry got off to a slow start before being ejected in the third quarter for barking at the refs about an offensive foul call he disagreed with.

Although I understand the “Lowry will be Lowry” mentality and love how hard he plays, Nick Nurse is clearly trying to build chemistry between his starting point guard and newcomer Leonard. Getting ejected from the first semi-legitimate preseason game doesn’t help.

A+
D. Green21 MIN, 22 PTS, 3 REB, 1 AST, 3 STL, 7-9 FG, 6-7 3FG, 2-2 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 9 +/-

Green showed Raptors fans just how effective he can be tonight, knocking down 6-7 three pointers in his best game yet. Defensively, Green was aggressive and his active hands caused three steals that led to easy transition buckets.

B+
J. Valanciunas20 MIN, 9 PTS, 5 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 4-8 FG, 1-3 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, 27 +/-

JV proved to be the better big man today. He was heavily involved on offence, finding cutters and taking shots only when needed. On defence, JV more than held his own against the Nets centers. He is also looking as handsome as ever.

C
C. Miles17 MIN, 6 PTS, 2 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 1-4 FG, 1-4 3FG, 3-4 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, 15 +/-

Although CJ was outshined by fellow sharpshooter Danny Green tonight, Miles looks to be in great shape and his veteran leadership can be felt throughout the Raptors locker room.

A
D. Wright15 MIN, 10 PTS, 1 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 3-5 FG, 0-1 3FG, 4-4 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 17 +/-

Delon has shown impressive growth in his last two preseason outings. Today he impressed with off-ball movement and tough finishes around the rim. Additionally, he did a good job changing his pace and confusing defenders with pump fakes inside.

Unfortunately, Wright was seen hobbling to the locker room at the end of the third quarter in what is being called a strained muscle in his left thigh.

A-
P. Siakam15 MIN, 8 PTS, 1 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 4-5 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 4 TO, 12 +/-

At the risk of being called a homer for the rest of my life, Siakam reminds me of a poor man’s Giannis Antetokounmpo when he has the ball in the open court. He is so fast and athletic he becomes impossible to defend, as we saw several times today as Siakam dunked the ball as Brooklyn defenders could do nothing but watch.

C-
L. Brown14 MIN, 4 PTS, 0 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 2-10 FG, 0-1 3FG, 0-1 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, 8 +/-

Brown looked confident from the moment he stepped on the floor. Unfortunately, his shot wasn’t falling and he continued to shoot and attack the rim rather than creating for his teammates.

D
M. Richardson13 MIN, 2 PTS, 3 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 0-1 FG, 0-1 3FG, 2-2 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, 6 +/-

Richardson was quiet today, but I do like his length and how locked in he seems to be on defence. If he starts to move more off the ball to find open threes, he could be dangerous.

A
F. VanVleet11 MIN, 11 PTS, 4 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 4-7 FG, 3-4 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 5 +/-

VanVleet is proving to be the Raptors most consistent bench player, and he was the best player on the court in the first half (which is the only half he played). Not only did he find open teammates and knocked down open shots, he held his own against D’angelo Russell defensively.

B
C. Boucher7 MIN, 6 PTS, 0 REB, 0 AST, 1 STL, 2-5 FG, 2-4 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, -2 +/-

Boucher has spent the last several years of his life in Montreal, so it is no wonder that when he knocked down his first three the crowd went crazy. Although he was beat inside by Jarrett Allen a few times, Boucher’s upside is easy to see. If he can gain some weight and continue knocking down open threes, he could be a versatile NBA player.

Inc
N. Powell0 MIN, 0 PTS, 0 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 0-0 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 0 +/-

Powell sat this game out. He is dealing with a thigh bruise on his right leg and “IT band” tenderness in his left leg, according to Sportsnet’s Michael Grange. He is expected to play tomorrow against New Orleans.

B+
Nick Nurse

I like that Nick Nurse is continuing to experiment with lineups, going with a couple hot hands in Siakam and JV to start the third quarter. Most coaches would try to establish a hierarchy before the first game of the season but Nurse is still experimenting knowing full well he needs that hierarchy set by the time playoffs roll around, not now. So be it if that means the Raptors lose a few games in order to learn a few important things.

Things We Saw

  1. The game was played in Montreal’s Bell Centre as part of the NBA Canada Series. It was an awesome environment as the sold out Bell Centre was loud and rambunctious, even starting an “MVP” chant for Leonard and doing an impressive wave.
  2. The second half starters with Lowry, Green, Leonard, Siakam and JV. I was really impressed with that groups ability to play fast and move the ball all over the court to find the best shot possible. Defensively, that group led by example to start the third quarter, playing aggressive and forcing countless turnovers that led to easy transition buckets. The Raptors outscored the nets 29-9 to open the third quarter.
  3. I thought this a lot during last season’s broadcasts and hopefully I will get to think it again this year: I am so thankful for Jack armstrong and Matt Devlin for their ability to entertain us fans during blowouts. From Jack talking about “progressive dinners” to participating in the wave, it was a class act from start to finish.
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