Raptors 94, Pacers 79 (Boxscore)
The Toronto Raptors relied on a well-rounded attack to earn their second victory of Summer League, beating the Indiana Pacers 94-79 on Thursday afternoon at the Cox Pavilion. Second round draft pick Dewan Hernandez led the team with a game-high 18 points, his most impressive performance in Las Vegas so far.
“He just keeps getting better at our base concepts. He just seems like he is a quick study, he is picking up the stuff we are throwing at him,” said head coach John Goodwillie. “Tonight he was at the 4 a lot more than in previous games and he was switching onto guy and doing a nice job on those switches, and still impacting the game on the rebounding.”
The Raptors rolled out a new starting lineup, giving Richard Solomon his first start of Summer League in place of the resting Chris Boucher while Darius Thompson also earned his first start. The new unit looked stagnant to open proceedings until a few quality Malcolm Miller relocation threes kicked them into gear. Thompson then began to slip into his role well as a secondary ball handler and off-ball shooting threat.
Newest Raptors signing Terence Davis, fresh off of a flight from Toronto after completing his medical, made his debut to open the second quarter. His opening sequences could not have gone much better, nailing a pull-up triple and then tossing an alley-oop lob to Hernandez. He then quickly followed that up with a putback on the offensive glass and a blow-by dunk. Davis’ presence sparked some life into the team as Toronto headed into the break down 46-48.
“What impressed me the most was that there wasn’t just one thing that impressed me the most,” Goodwillie said of the team’s newest signing. “He was volunteering to guard some of the better players on the other team. We put him in the zone and he seemed to figure that out pretty good and he came off guarding the pin-downs pretty well. He got comfortable with our next action concepts on the offensive end. He took the shots when they were there and when they weren’t there he made the next play. He is a bit better ballhandler than I was expecting, so that was a nice surprise.”
The Raptors team defence on the Pacers’ key man, Aaron Holiday, was particularly impressive. Walden, Loyd, and Davis combined to force Holiday into plenty of inefficient shots. He was stifled to 6 for 26 shooting from the floor and the Raptors held their opponents to just 4 for 19 shooting in the pivotal third quarter. Miller (16 points) and Hernandez then took tuns picking the Pacers apart as the Raptors raced to a 68-61 lead.
It was the most players that Goodwillie has played, going 12 deep on the evening. However, unlike the previous games the reserves brought a spark to the game, most notably Davis and Jordon Varnado. As Davis was integrated with the starters in the fourth quarter Toronto began to race away for a comprehensive victory.
The Raptors did not qualify for the tournament quarterfinals and their final consolation game will be determined after tonight’s games are completed.
- Jordan Loyd: The worst of Loyd’s four game so far. He had some uncharacteristic turnovers and struggled to get separation from his defender which resulted in a few tough mid-range jumpshots. Once Loyd was paired with Davis it offered him a ballhandler release valve and Loyd began to show his usual composed play.
- Malcolm Miller: It was good to see Miller find his shooting stroke again, now stringing consecutive strong performances together. It wasn’t just nailing his shots what was impressive, but the manner in which he did. Miller canned triples off a DHO, a relocation attempt, and then spotting up. His defensive intensity drew particular praise from his head coach as well.
- Darius Thompson: Having quietly strung together some decent plays in small minutes, Thompson fit snugly in the starting lineup. He showed a little bit of everything early; handling well in the pick-and-roll, getting to the line, and curling off a screen for a quick three. The more I see, the more I’m intrigued at the Thompson’s two-way potential.
- Dewan Hernandez: What a leap Hernandez has made from game one to now. The jitters look to be out of the big man’s system as he develops chemistry with Loyd and Davis in the pick-and-roll. Hernandez showed his strong rebounding skills and managed to hang with guards on a few defensive switches. Even the face up game that was cringeworthy last week looked incredibly fluid. He has made incremental growth in every game which is all you can ask for from the rookie.
- Richard Solomon: Stepped out for a smooth looking corner three early, something we hadn’t seen much of Solomon in the first few games of action. Couldn’t quite connect on a couple of lob opportunities.
- Terence Davis: Well, that’s a way to introduce yourself to Toronto. I know it’s a small sample size but 10 points, four rebounds, and three assists in your first quarter of action is pretty special. Davis looks even more explosive in person, blowing by his defender multiple times. His energy was visible from the get-go, hyping up his teammates after every bucket. Will do a deeper dive on his performance for tomorrow.
- Bench: Jordon Varnado showed well in extended minutes. He fits as a tweener, physically built but not the typical height fro a 4 or 5 despite being able to protect the rim. Walden was a little more under control despite still failing to inject his own scoring to the team. Jessie Govan also got his first real minutes, showing a decent inside-out game but very slow-footed defensively.