Summer league is clearly for player development and figuring out who can fill out an NBA roster. However, Friday’s game had a clear goal in mind that kept even casual viewers interested.
Toronto needed to beat Miami by 18 points to jump Portland in point differential and lock themselves into a title game against the Knicks on Sunday. A chance to play for one of those rings that have been controversially discussed. Coach Trevor Gleeson reportedly made that goal known before the game.
Armoni Brooks’ first half spark
The Raptors came out flat in the first quarter, but Armoni Brooks changed their entire flow. Brooks was coming off a 2-12 game against Utah (1-10 from three) but bounced back with 15 first half points, helping Toronto jump out to a double digit lead with a trio of threes. As we’ve seen all summer league, he’s comfortable firing from well behind the arc. Brooks’ shot selection can be questioned at times but the jumper looks pretty. He probably could have continued his hot streak, but mysteriously didn’t get the ball for a few possessions and cooled off. Armoni’s defensive pressure forced a couple Miami turnovers. Good guys up 13 at the break. Everything good so far!
Koloko continues to show the defensive versatility that the Raptors current vision demands. Jumping back a bit chronologically, but his ability to switch onto the perimeter when needed and still be a presence at the rim is impressive. Not many 7-1 guys can do that.
Christian Koloko moving his feet on the perimeter, switching onto Smart, and blocking his shot at the rim. pic.twitter.com/HtxX0jsjjl
— Aram Cannuscio (@AC__Hoops) July 16, 2022
Koloko also locked down at the end of the third quarter, not allowing the Heat to get a three point attempt off.
Now for the offence. He attempted another open straightaway three, similar to the one he made against the Bulls however it missed. It’s not a part of his game (0-5 from deep in three seasons at Arizona) but the mechanics looked good! I can definitely see Koloko adding some pick and pop stuff to his game, especially in Raptors 905 stints.
I mentioned his hook shot being hit or miss in the previous recap. We’ve seen some air balls, but this one looked solid.
— Doc Naismith (@DocNaismith) July 16, 2022
Toronto led by 21 after three quarters and were up by as much as 23. Title game coming up?
Not meant to be
Yeah, not quite.
Turnovers and shot selection hurt the Raps late. Miami actually cut the lead to five at one point, killing any championship hopes even though Toronto won 88-78. D.J. Wilson enjoyed a game-high 22 points against Utah but shot just 2-8 in this one.
Sidenotes: Dalano Banton continues to run the break very well, with nice finishing ability. However he had six turnovers. Jeff Dowtin had an all-around game with 16 points, eight boards and five assists. You can describe him as one of those “plays at his own pace” type of guys where nothing feels rushed and he is going to get his regardless.
Toronto’s summer league finale is on Sunday at 4pm EDT against Milwaukee. That appears to be a third place game, as both teams’ point differential fell short of the Knicks and Blazers.