Morning Coffee – Tue, Oct 5

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Cover Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images

We still have a few slots left for our 3-on-3 Tournament. The event will be on Sunday November 28 at Mattamy Athletic Centre (Yonge/College) at 1 PM. Registration is now open with limited spots available.

The Details:

What: Survivor Series – The 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament

When: November 28, 2021, at 1:00 PM

Where: Mattamy Athletic Centre – 50 Carlton St, Toronto, ON M5B 1J2 (venue website, Google Maps)

Cost: The cost per team is $150

How to Sign Your Team Up

1. Send $150 e-transfer to [email protected]
2. Buy the tickets on Eventbrite here

3. Send money using $RAPS coin here

Raptors preseason observations: It’s already Scottie Barnes time as Raptors re-debut in Toronto – The Athletic

However, Barnes is more than energy and good vibes, although he is those things: His palpable excitement made the Raptors return to Toronto a lot more fun than any preseason game has a right to be, with his double fist pump after he fed Yuta Watanabe in transition for a dunk and clap after Philadelphia committed a second delay-of-game penalty particular highlights. It can be easy to get lost in the feeling of how Barnes plays, but what he does can be special, too.

In a lineup that will struggle to score in the half court, particularly without Siakam’s all-around game and Boucher’s shooting, Barnes’ creativity will be necessary. The Raptors’ first bucket of the game came when he found Goran Dragic cutting from the post. As expected and encouraged by the coaching staff, he was one of several bigger Raptors to not hesitate to bring the ball up off a rebound, finding Fred VanVleet for a wide-open 3-pointer.

You could also see how Barnes might unlock some of what the Raptors want to do regularly. Nurse said the Raptors had not put in much of their offensive playbook — and with 23 turnovers, it showed — but things got a bit complicated defensively when he and Anunoby were the two guys at the top of a zone. He also attacks the glass with ferocity, with four of his nine rebounds coming on the offensive end. In the end, he finished with 13 points, nine rebounds, six assists and a pair of blocks, the type of stat line the Raptors hope they will be able to call Barnesian in time.

“Nothing different from what we’ve been saying or seeing,” Nurse said. “Just kind of a little bit of everything, bringing the ball, finding a way to get it in the bucket here and there, making some passes. He’s a good, versatile, multi-dimensional guy.”

In the third quarter, VanVleet threw an alley-oop pass to Barnes. Instead of trying to dunk it, Barnes laid the ball in.

“I just wanted to see the energy and the young legs everybody keeps talking about,” VanVleet said with a smile. “I was on him in practice, in training camp: that wall comes fast in training camp after that first day.”

“The energy was there,” Barnes countered. “I missed one before that, so I just wanted to secure that one.”

Smart kid.

With a promising new cast, Raptors find familiar success in Toronto homecoming – Sportsnet

Things began to turn midway through the first quarter when Dalano Banton — the first Toronto-born player to be drafted by his hometown team — checked in to a warm greeting from the crowd. The Raptors were trailing 21-11 at the time and Banton changed the flow of the game. On his first touch the six-foot-nine point guard grabbed a defensive rebound, sprinted the floor with the ball and found Svi Mykhailiuk for a lay-up. A moment later, Banton kept it for himself.

Soon Barnes checked in and the Raptors were playing a five-man lineup where the shortest player was six-foot-six rookie Justin Champagnie.

The Raptors closed the first half on a 17-4 run with plenty of transition scoring, fueled by Sixers misses and turnovers as they tried to move through the Raptors’ five-man swarm of fast-moving arms and legs.

“That’s what we want it to look like right there, I don’t know if we can duplicate that 100 more times, but that’s the goal,” said VanVleet. “Credit to those guys, they came in and played with incredible spirit and energy and that’s all you can ask for new guys, young guys especially …that energy and that passion will carry you a long ways in the league and they’re doing everything the right way so it’s hard to be mad at anything they’re doing. Now will it always work? Probably not, but it’s a good start.”

On this night they never let up. A 39-29 second quarter allowed the Raptors to take a 67-54 lead into the half. The peak moment came when Banton hit a cutting Barnes for a layup and, a minute later, Barnes made a clever no-look pass to a cutting Yuta Watanabe. It was a lot of tall guys cutting and running and sharing the ball and not a traditional point guard or centre in sight.

Toronto followed up with a 33-23 third quarter and the blowout was officially in play.

Sixers Bell Ringer: Andre Drummond, Seth Curry stand out in preseason loss to Toronto – Liberty Ballers

After three and a half months without Philadelphia 76ers basketball, they returned to the hardwood Monday for their preseason opener and fell to the Toronto Raptors 123-107. Both teams were without key players, including Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris and Pascal Siakam. Led by a glut of rangy, multifaceted wings, the Raptors used a 21-2 run midway through the first half to seize control and never trailed the rest of the night.

The Sixers will look to nab their first preseason victory on Thursday when they face the Raptors inside Wells Fargo Center at 7 p.m. Monday’s loss won’t stop us from anointing the inaugural Bell Ringer of 2021-22, though.

Andre Drummond: 19 points, 14 rebounds, four blocks, three assists, five turnovers

In his Sixers debut, the veteran center was a two-way force during the opening half, when he posted 17 points, 12 rebounds, three blocks and two assists. He exploited Toronto’s lack of front-court size with a few self-created buckets, was active defensively on the interior, and showcased his playmaking chops. The second half gave way to some sloppiness as a passer and he only played six minutes after intermission, but Drummond turned in a quality first game with Philadelphia.

Sixers: 5 takeaways from preseason opener vs. Raptors

Against the Atlanta Hawks in last year’s playoffs, Seth Curry took a major step forward as a scorer. With Danny Green injured and Ben Simmons’s offense missing in action, Curry shouldered the scoring load and became the team’s de facto second option down the stretch, averaging 25 points per game in the final three contests of the series while shooting 63 percent from the field and 62 percent from beyond the arc.

Obviously, keeping up those percentages is a little bit unrealistic — as is expecting a career role player to suddenly begin averaging 25 points per game. But if the first preseason game of the year is any indication, some of Curry’s confidence could certainly carry over to the regular season.

Against a series of lanky Raptors defenders, Curry utilized his crafty set of moves to get off quite a few open looks, knocking most of them down. He hit a few stepback triples, including one off his go-to behind-the-back, and served as the team’s primary guard scorer. Curry finished with 14 points on 6-11 shooting, and was the only starter with a positive plus-minus.

Once the regular season begins, the Sixers are going to be searching for scorers, especially on nights where the team rests Embiid. If Curry’s scorching hot playoffs can translate into a more confident second season after he looked timid at times last year, the team should be able to fill part of that bucket-getting void.

NBA Preseason: Toronto Raptors showcase new vision, beat Sixers 123-107 in return to Scotiabank Arena – Raptors HQ

The length begins with Scottie Barnes, and I’m not sure it ever ends. In his preseason debut, the fourth-overall pick looked very much like a guy worth banking on for the long haul. Despite carrying the “project” distinction with him into his pro career, Barnes showed off all the many ways he’s sure to affect games on the road to assuming whatever his final form will be. He scored 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting to go along with nine rebounds, six assists, three steals and two blocks, and was one of the orchestrators of a 39-29 second quarter that displayed just how effective it can be to have many enormous dudes who can dribble on the floor at once.

Barnes still has work to do handle and decision making-wise. He coughed up five turnovers, and had a few would-be attacks cut short as he had to re-set after nearly losing control, but it speaks to how few nits there were to pick with Barnes’ performance that that’s what I’m offering up as a critique. It seems he’ll get plenty of opportunity to work on his ball-handling within Nick Nurse’s game plan, too. Despite naming him to his starting five, Nurse spoke to his desire to get Barnes involved as a ball-handler next to other reserves. As his teammate Fred VanVleet noted, that’s probably the spot in which he’ll be the most comfortable out of the gate.

“I think he looks a lot more comfortable with other bench guys out there with him,” said VanVleet. “That’s always a fine balance of trying to play with other top players… If you go out there with that energy and that passion for the game and you have kind of ability at all you’ll probably figure it out.”

Toronto runs at least eight-deep in guys equipped to grab-and-go off defensive rebounds. When four or five of those guys play at the same time — something that should be commonplace once Toronto’s at full health — it’s a lot for an opponent to reckon with.

Dalano Banton probably won’t be part of the main rotation whenever the Raptors are fully healthy, but he made a case to be on Monday. He too was a part of the marauding second quarter that blew the game open for good, and finished off with six points, five boards and four assists with a steal and two blocks, albeit with five turnovers of his own. His first hometown bucket was about as thrilling as you could have possibly hoped for.

Raptors open preseason with win in Toronto homecoming –

So, even in an otherwise meaningless game played inside a building that wasn’t even half full, Monday’s exhibition opener had more juice than you would normally expect from an exhibition opener. The Raptors had finally come home.

“It was great,” said after his team’s 123-107 preseason victory over the Philadelphia 76ers. “It was great to see our fans, make eye contact with people that you know have missed it just as much as we’ve missed it and see a lot of familiar faces.”

“It sure feels good to be back,” head coach Nick Nurse agreed. “There’s a buzz, a level of comfort. There’s an energy that translates from that crowd to the players. I think our guys were excited to play. We were certainly excited to get out there.”

It showed. From the moment energetic rookie Scottie Barnes led them out of the tunnel while skipping, shouting and flailing his arms, the team exuded joy. For a couple guys, VanVleet and , it was a homecoming, a chance to do something they haven’t done in a while – play in the city they’ve called home since coming into the league. For Barnes and the rest of this young, new-look Raptors team, it was an introduction, and most of them made an excellent first impression.

Not only did Anunoby (21 points on 7-of-12 shooting in 25 minutes) and VanVleet (eight points and eight assists in 23 minutes) look comfortable in their expanded roles – Anunoby as a focal point in the offence and VanVleet as the primary ball handler, sans Lowry – but many of the new faces acclimated themselves well.

With four key players out of the lineup – , , Gary Trent Jr. and – Barnes got the start alongside VanVleet, Anunoby and the two guys that came over from Miami in the Lowry sign-and-trade, veteran guard and sophomore big man Precious Achiuwa. He didn’t disappoint, stuffing the stat sheet with 13 points, nine rebounds, six assists, two blocks and two steals in his NBA debut.

He and fellow rookie, second-rounder and Toronto-native Dalano Banton, led a hybrid unit that blew the game open in the second quarter. Barnes showcased his do-it-all, two way upside, making plays with the ball, getting his long arms in passing lanes, and racing out in transition. Like Barnes, Banton has a unique skill set for a player listed at 6-foot-9, and looked far more natural with the ball in his hands then he did in Summer League a couple months ago.

Unless something goes terribly wrong, the second unit should look a whole lot different come opening night on October 20. Still, that group – complete with , and Justin Champagnie, three guys competing for a spot in the rotation, or on the regular season roster – played the way Nurse wants this Raptors team to play.

‘It sure feels good to be back.’ Raptors reward fans with welcome-home win over Sixers | The Star

Barnes had himself a game, too.

Nothing much should be read into stats from the exhibition opener against a Sixers team that sat out regulars Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris — and is without Ben Simmons, hoping for a trade — but Barnes had 13 points, nine rebounds and six assists while playing about four different positions over 25 minutes.

“Nothing different from what we’ve been saying or seeing,” Nurse said. “Just kind of a little bit of everything: bringing the ball, finding a way to get it in the bucket here and there, making some passes. He’s a good, versatile, multi-dimensional guy.”

Said the rookie: “It was great to just play at home, trying to interact with the fans, get their energy. They probably got us going a little bit today. So we had a great interaction today. I like it. It was fun.

“I’m a very versatile (guy) where I can do so many different things. I just come in, try to play defence, do my job and play through the offence.

“I’ll just say, it’s going to be good just being with the system, run the system, being able to come in here and play every single day and just get better.”

Raptors homecoming a success as pre-season begins | Toronto Sun

The 6-foot-9 rookie can do no wrong right now, even if he’s still learning the NBA. His enthusiasm is infectious and his potential is limitless and that’s more than enough for a fanbase looking to latch onto another future Raptors star in the making.

“We’re just still trying to get a feel for each other,” Barnes said of an uneven game overall but one that he certainly impacted in just about every manner possible.

Barnes finished the night with 13 points, nine rebounds, six assists, three steals and two blocks in 25 minutes.

Head coach Nick Nurse talked before the game about putting Barnes in a position to bring the ball up and handle it as much as possible. He wants to take advantage of Barnes’ athleticism and court vision and all the other pluses a guy with his extended dimensions provides.

At one point in the first half, veteran point guard Fred VanVleet threw up a lob for the rookie only to see him bring it back down and then go back up for the basket.

As the players headed back to the bench on a timeout after that basket, VanVleet sidled up to the young rookie and playfully pinched at his lower legs.

“I just wanted to see all the energy in the young legs people keep talking about,” VanVleet said, pointing out he’s been on the Florida State product all through camp and this was just a continuation of that. “They drafted him for his energy and athleticism so I thought he would jump up there and scream like he always does. I was a little disappointed so I just let him know about that.”

“The energy was there,” Barnes said when asked about that particular play. “He was just saying I got long legs and I got to dunk that. I was just trying to secure the basket. I missed one before that and I just wanted to secure that one.”

The Sixers did not play Joel Embiid in this one, providing more time for an almost given-up-on Andre Drummond, who came to the Sixers on a league minimum contract. Drummond wound up with a Sixers-high 19 points and 14 boards.

Raptors notebook: Chris Boucher might miss a month after finger surgery | The Star

Chris Boucher, pencilled in to start in place of Pascal Siakam while the all-star forward recovers from off-season shoulder surgery, may now be out for a month himself.

Boucher had surgery to repair a dislocated middle finger on his left hand, and coach Nick Nurse said the Montreal native could be out three or four weeks. Boucher was hurt during a training camp practice last week and had the operation on the weekend, team officials said.

The Raptors do have options to fill the spot with a roster laden with long, athletic forwards who could get time there. OG Anunoby, Yuta Watanabe, Freddie Gillespie, Ish Wainright and Reggie Perry are all possibilities. Watanabe and Gillespie might be the most realistic. If Nurse holds true to his plan of running out versatile groups of different players, he’s got a spot to experiment with.

Even rookie Scottie Barnes will factor into the vacant role, although Nurse would like for him to gain some experience as a primary ballhandler through the pre-season.

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