Raptors lose to sharpshooting Sixers in final game of Summer League

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Raptors 102, Sixers 108 (Boxscore)

The Toronto Raptors finished their Summer League campaign with a 102-108 loss against the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday afternoon at the Cox Pavilion. Lindell Wigginton led the team with a game-high 26 points as Toronto end their time in Las Vegas with a 2-3 record.

With Toronto deciding to rest Jordan Loyd and Malcolm Miller for their final game, it offered both Wigginton, a Nova Scotia native, and Terence Davis to earn their first start in Las Vegas. Wigginton was a spark early, crossing up Matisse Thybule for an and-1 and then blowing by Zaire Smith off of the dribble.

“I was trying to bring what I had to the table,” said Wigginton. “I played against Zaire in college so it was good going up against him again. We was talking a little bit so it was good going up against him, he was at Texas Tech when I was at Iowa State. Thybulle, I never really played against him before but I heard he was a great defender.”

Plenty of faces got a run early as head coach John Goodwillie went eleven players deep in the opening quarter but his Canadian guard was the standout performer of the bunch.

“He was aggressive, he did a nice job. He didn’t just search shots but he took them when they were there,” Goodwillie said of Wigginton. “I think once he got his offence into the game a little bit he got a little more aggressive on the defensive end as well. He was in that group at the end of the game that brought it back.”

The rest of the Raptors struggled to generate consistent offence without a true point guard on the floor. Davis flashed a few quality moments as a playmaker, finding Dewan Hernandez and then Wigginton for alley-oop lobs, but the flow of the offence was noticeably stagnant. As a result the Raptors’ most experienced member, Chris Boucher, decided to take matters into his own hands with a flurry of threes and leading transition offence. Boucher (24 points on 6 for 8 shooting and 10 for 12 from the free throw line) showed a few moments – be it curling off screens to shooter or taking it to the hole off the dribble – that make him such a tantalizing prospect.

“I was forcing a little bit the first two games,” said Boucher. “As this game was going, I got my feel on, and I started shooting a little less and be more efficient. So I think that really helped me out. Taking what they gave me, you know.”

However, the Raptors perimeter defence allowed far too much dribble penetration to the rim as they fell behind 56-46 at halftime. It also hard to win a game when your opponent doesn’t miss a shot from deep. The Sixers were at one point 10 for 16 from three, a level of efficiency that is near impossible to hang with. Davis began to find his rhythm during the third quarter which kept the Raptors in touching distance.

Philadelphia continued to nail timely threes that stunted any semi-run the Raptors strung together. Canadian Marial Shayok continued to show out for Philadelphia with 14 points, four rebounds, and four assists. The wing for Ottawa recently signed a two-way contract with the Sixers.

(I will do a deeper dive into each individual’s performance over the tournament early next week.)

Raptors notes

  • Lindell Wigginton: With Loyd out, Wigginton took the starting opportunity with both hands. He had a couple of deadly crossovers on two of the strongest defenders in Las Vegas in Smith and Thybulle. He’s a legitimate microwave scorer and it was great to see him have a long leash to take, and make, some particularly difficult shots. I’m surprised every time he elevates to the rim, dude has bunnies. Will be interesting to see if Wigginton did enough to be a 905 prospect.
  • Terence Davis: It’s hard to emulate Davis’ debut performance, but he was solid despite his poor outside shooting. Would have definitely benefited playing alongside a true point guard. Davis tossed a few nice lobs to Hernandez and Wigginton. With the athleticism Davis possesses, I’d love to see him continue to practice attacking closeouts from the corner for the rest of the summer, he’s just so damn explosive off the bounce. Fun times ahead.
  • Darius Thompson: Probably helped his stock the most out of any non-Raptor. Thompson was relatively quiet today, but his ability to do just a little bit of everything is promising. As an ancillary guy, Thompson doesn’t let the ball get stuck in his hands and makes decisions early which is a very good sign in the sometimes ball-hoggy Summer League.
  • Dewan Hernandez: There are glimmers of quality in Hernandez’ game which should breed optimism. Of course, there are some raw moments offensively as Hernandez sometimes struggles to get separation on drives which limits his ability to finish despite having a soft touch. Hernandez’ rebounding is ferocious and he snagged ripped down a one-handed rebound. One very promising sign is his ambidexterity around the rim.
  • Chris Boucher: I have been overly critical of Boucher’s performances because I am looking at his game with far higher expectations. However, Boucher was far more engaged in the back half of the tournament, showing just how much he drives winning and losing. Boucher’s talent at this level far exceeds almost nearly everybody that he shares the floor with and there were a few fun experimental moments he showed as a ballhandler. His long-term future and positional fit with the Raptors heading into October will be interesting to monitor.
  • Bench: Richard Solomon continued to be the first guy off of the bench for the Raptors. It is fun to see him spot up for some threes despite only going 3 for 9 over the course of the tournament. He also has shown some nice vision on backdoor passes. Kyle Allman Jr. got his first summer league minutes and nailed a jumper which is a nice way to start and finish your time in Vegas.

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