Post-Game

Raptors fall to Warriors in Las Vegas opener

Raptors 71, Warriors 80 (Boxscore)

The championship rematch between the Toronto Raptors and Golden State may not have ended with confetti being released from the rafters this time around, but it was a somewhat exciting close to night two in Las Vegas nonetheless. There were the expected bumps and bruises of an opening Summer League game yet there were some fun takeaways from the Raptors’ narrow loss.

The starting lineup looked in sync to open the game with plenty of familiarity and talent being shared on the floor between Jordan Loyd, Chris Boucher, and Malcolm Miller. The addition of Isreali League MVP Corey Walden into the starting lineup packed even more scoring punch to a strong unit and Boucher showed off a highlight alley-oop followed by a thunderous chasedown block to hype his championship-winning teammates that were sitting courtside. Boucher finished the evening with a team-high 21 points and 13 rebounds.

Loyd and Walden were each carving the Warriors’ defence in the pick-and-roll, however the team could not capitalize on their open shots, finishing 7-27 from three-point distance. In particular, Miller uncharacteristically missed a few wide-open looks badly.

From there, things began to fall apart when different bench lineups trickled onto the floor. The Raptors’ offence began to slow down by the end of the first half, then decided to not show up from the locker room in the third quarter. Golden State outscored Toronto 28-7 in a backbreaking quarter.

“We played well, you know we played really good basketball for long stretches. I thought we were pretty physical and aggressive, we just took our foot off the pedal a little bit there in the third quarter. They got the better of us which really changed the game in their favor,” said head coach John Goodwillie.

Although the third quarter was poor, the Raptors’ ice-cold shooting throughout the game prevented them from securing the win despite possessing more talent on the floor. The team shot 31.7 per cent from the field and Walden was the only player who shot at 50 per cent. The looks were there, the execution was not.

The starters made a late run to close the gap once they returned to the floor late. Boucher poured in 10 points in the final five minutes and a pair of Miller free throws cut the deficit to single digits with a minute remaining, however that was as close as the Raptors would come.

“Overall I thought we played well, we just gotta focus on the little things and play four quarters,” said Boucher. “We got to watch the film and see what we can do better.”

Toronto will play again on Monday night against the San Antonio Spurs at 7 p.m. ET.

RAPTORS NOTES: I’m stealing a page from the editor emeritus and will put a little game recap, but will be mainly focusing on the individual player notes in each of these games.

  • Corey Walden: Although his individual boxscore didn’t jump off of the page, Corey Walden was by far the most impressive new face on the Raptors lineup. He was a gnat on defence and has a textbook looking jumpshot off of the catch and off the dribble. More impressive was his composure navigating the pick-and-roll, Walden found his roller early and then made the correct progression to his second and third reads as the defence collapsed. I hope that he consumes a higher usage rate in the proceeding games; certainly one to keep an eye on.
  • Jordan Loyd: It wasn’t Loyd’s best game by any means (4-13 FG) but he continues to show new wrinkles to his game and a the requisite composure of a lead guard. I was a little disheartened to see Loyd off-ball to start with next to Walden, but they began to mesh well and Loyd quickly asserted himself with a highlight reel oop to Boucher along with a couple of other great moves in isolation late in the shot clock. He is so strong at keeping his defender at bay and getting to where he wants on the floor. Loyd is superbly versatile, I hope this works in his favour rather than a detriment in the coaching staff’s eyes.
  • Chris Boucher: It was very much a Slimm Duck game today as he kicked things off with the aforementioned highlight reel players followed by some ill-advised pull-up jumpers early in the shot clock and a few clanky threes. Still, Boucher was one of the few bright lights in the second half and his sheer talent alone proved to right the ship after a rocky start. He showed a little bit 0f hi-lo chemistry in the twin tower lineups Goodwillie rolled out. Your Summer League fact of the day: Boucher is now tied as the all-time blocks leader in Raptors Summer League history.
  • Malcolm Miller: It looked early as if Miller was going to rightly prove that he was a class above this competition with a smooth three to open the game, but his Summer League woes continued with two horrible misses from the corner on wide open looks. There was a fun little defensive matchup with Miller picking up Jordan Poole as the two went back and forth. Miller continues to do all the right things, unfortunately he just didn’t deliver. As a shooter it can often be a results-oriented business and Miller needs to knock a few down as the guarantee date of his contract fast approaches.
  • Dewan Hernandez: Like Boucher, Hernandez was trying to do a little bit too much offensively and was always a little bit out of control on that end of the floor. He had an ugly attempt at euro step and struggled to get separation nor show touch around the rim on his drives. Hernandez’ energy and physicality cannot be questioned, but we will certainly need to see a more refined approach to the next game.
  • The Bench: Richard Solomon was effective when he replaced Hernandez, pairing well with Boucher. He’s a massive guy and fights well on the boards, despite limited offensive upside. Although he shot poorly (1-7 FG), it’s hard not to love Lindell Wigginton. The dude is fearless and flew towards the rim despite being hacked repeatedly. His one field goal was a beautiful and-one, plus his defence is tenacious despite his slight frame.
  • INJURIES: Bodies were flying all over the place; Wigginton, Hernandez, and Loyd all the recipients of some overly physical Golden State defence. Loyd was the only one of the three who continued to limp after the fact, although he played the rest of the game.
  • IN ATTENDANCE: We had a good turnout tonight as the championship certainly continue. OG, Pascal, and Fred were present throughout most of the game, while Eric Moreland tried his hand in photography. The entire coaching staff were courtside and Nick Nurse did a classy television interview on the Kawhi departure.

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