Post-Game

Raptors rally late, unable to overcome large deficit in loss to Spurs in second Summer League outing

Raptors 90, Spurs 93 (Boxscore)

There was optimism that the Toronto Raptors would be able to iron out a few wrinkles ahead of their second game of the Summer League, yet that prove not to be the case as they fell 93-90  to the San Antonion Spurs on Monday evening at the Cox Pavilion. Despite mounting an impressive comeback in the fourth quarter, the Raptors couldn’t overcome their lackluster play in the opening half.

“It was more of an energy thing. I don’t think we played with enough energy. There were deflections but we weren’t getting on the ball to retrieve them,” said John Goodwillie. “We didn’t play hard enough for a decent stretch of the first half. Then in the second half we found a rhythm and found a way to get back into the game.”

The first quarter can really only be described as the Lonnie Walker IV show. The 18th pick in the 2018 draft came out simultaneously on fire but entirely composed. That is the very combination that indicates when a player is too good for Summer League. Walker dropped 13 of his 32 points in the opening period as the Raptors slipped to a 30-21 deficit.

The bleeding stopped briefly in the second quarter courtesy of back-to-back triples from Matt Morgan, who was playing his first Summer League minutes for the Raptors. In fact a few of players who were sparingly used in the first game made an impact in the second half; Jessie Govan had a quick offensive putback and Darius Thompson nailed a triple along with a smooth finish in transition. Although the ancillary pieces injected a brief spark, the starters looked overwhelmed as they succumbed to a constant barrage of Walker buckets.

“We had a lot of guys trying to guard him, props to him because he hit a lot of tough shots. He hit a lot of tough non-paint twos that we kind of want to live with. As long as we’re contesting, guys can play at a high level and knock those shots down,” said Jordan Loyd.

There are a lot of moving pieces in the fold during Summer League, but I would have hoped to see a bit more offensive chemistry given the experience of Jordan Loyd, Malcolm Miller, and Chris Boucher. Loyd (27 points) was the only playmaking threat amongst the team in the first half which severely limited the Raptors abilty to generate open looks. As the pressure mounted and the Spurs’ lead increased, Toronto became more frantic which only added to their unraveling.

The third quarter was much of the same. Toronto’s defensive rotations were all over the place, unable to prevent dribble penetration into the paint and then failing to closeout on shooters once their defence had been collapsed. A flurry of tough buckets by Jordan Loyd kept Toronto in semi-touching distance and some lackluster Spurs offensive possessions began to swing the momentum late.

Chris Boucher (24 points) then combined with Loyd to spearhead a ferocious comeback in the fourth quarter. The Raptors turned to a 3-2 zone defence for much of the last period and ultimately the deficit to three with a shot to tie the game. Loyd peeled open for a corner three but rushed the shot as it clanked off of the back iron.

The Raptors play tomorrow night against R.J. Barrett and the New York Knicks 9:30 p.m. ET.

Player Notes

  • Jordan Loyd: After two games of action, it is clear the Loyd is the best player on the Raptors’ roster. Although his game was not without flaws – he was the recipient of many Walker buckets – it is hard to knock Loyd given the gargantuan load that is placed on him to generate offence for Toronto. Forced shots aside, Loyd was precise in the pick-and-roll and was particularly impressive curling off of screens and in DHO actions. Loyd is usually a composed presence on the floor but today his mounting frustration became visible.
  • Corey Walden: It was a tough second outing for Walden as he couldn’t follow his impressive debut. Walden has a smooth shooting stroke, but he hesitated on two early triples that took his legs out of his jumper once he did shoot. After a couple of careless passes, Walden was yanked for the rest of the second half for Matt Morgan.
  • Malcolm Miller: There is something about Las Vegas that Miller must hate. After the Raptors signed four wings in 48 hours, the pressure was on Miller to perform today. Given that the guarantee date of his contract is fast approaching, the need for a big game is immediate. He was invisible for large portions of the game and is yet to find his three-point shot.
  • Dewan Hernandez: Hernandez continues to show the requisite effort on the defensive end of the floor, but his foot speed and lateral quickness have been a tad slow. His face up game is non-existent, but was active on the glass during the Raptors comeback and had a nice drop step over his right shoulder for a hook shot.
  • Chris Boucher: Watching Boucher in Summer League is weird. The stats are there, but something feels amiss. Boucher was not engaged for the first three quarters and bricked an infuriating amount of threes, yet as soon as he engaged the Raptors went on a colossal run and he could not be stopped on the glass. The double-big lineup is hurting Boucher as there is a logjam in the paint which is causing him fits when diving to the basket.
  • Bench: With Walden’s woes, Matt Morgan emerged as his replacement and did very well, displaying his outside shot. Richard Solomon again showed great physicality on the boards and is massive presence at the rim defensively, although he was a fouling machine in this one. Darius Thompson showed a spark in his smattering of minutes while Lindell Wigginton struggled to make much of an impact. Adonis Thomas was brought in to guard Walker, but didn’t slow him down at all.

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