Quick Reaction: Taipans 93, Raptors 134

Well, that was a game of basketball.

Sorry, once again the graphic generator isn’t work. We’re going old school!

Anunoby – A – He was having some technical difficulties with his shoes in this one. Still hit a lot of triples! He was sort of unfair as the primary defender against Klintman and others. 

Siakam – A – Was simply, by far, with ease, the best player on the court. Found the corners with ease against the Cairns defense. Not sure if that’s telling against NBA teams, but it was still impressive here. Passed brilliantly, was just so comfortable. Not a ton to takeaway here. He is an All-NBA player playing against a non-NBA team. 

Boucher – A – His effort is so portable. Blocked jumpers, sprinted everywhere he was going, and altogether kept the wheels humming with his activity. Not like we didn’t already know that. Nice verticality protecting the rim. 

Barnes – A – The jumper looked free and easy, which bodes well. Extremely active early, and everything was based on the 3-point arc. Pushed in transition to create open triples for teammates, hit a triple of his own, and even blocked a 3-pointer. His handle was loose when trying to break down defenders off the dribble, and he amassed some unforced turnovers. 

Schroder – A – How high a grade can you give someone when they miss an okey-doke floater after they fake the defender out of their shoes? (I missed one of those last night in pick-up, so.) Truly though, the shot was fluid, and he fit in well. The assist number was low, but he had a number of hockey assists that really broke open the play. He looked much more comfortable than he did against Sacramento (as did everyone), but I mean that in a structural sense rather than just success on the court.

Trent jr. – B – He missed some triples, but he looked comfortable and even ran an action here and there. 

Young – B – The old-man game served him well, here. Putbacks, easy finishes: he was just your dad, bullying you as a kid in the driveway. He did blow an uncontested layup in the third, and he did get cooked on defense by Cairns. (It’s not fair the Raptors are asking him to play center and backstop the defense.) 

Dick – B – Wow the crowd loves him; he’s getting more cheers than basically any other player when subbed into the game. Is it the name, the sparkly draft-day suit, or the jumper? On the court, he had some extremely nifty play that wasn’t shooting. He had a hit ahead pass in transition, a nice drive from the baseline and bounce feed to Barnes for a layup, and just generally did good stuff. He’s so much more than just a shooter. 

Dowtin jr. – A – Checked in and immediately was the best player on the court. I actually don’t understand why Toronto has some of the other 905 guys playing ahead of him. A beautiful drive and extension finish in traffic. 

Flynn – A – The jumper was working, but it was completely uncontested, so make of that what you will. The passing was creative, and he had a nifty one-hand gather to create an uncontested layup. He really outclassed Cairns. 

Freeman-Liberty – A –  He looked great, even when the game sort of turned to porridge. He didn’t get all the way to the rim on his first drive, missing a gap dribble. Then he grabbed an offensive rebound for a putback and pushed in transition for a layup — he knows how to fix his mistakes. He cut well, too.  

Gueye – A – He’s got some passing chops! Toronto used him as the handoff hub for moments with the third-stringers out there, and he was comfortable. 

Harper jr. – B – He defended well with the young group. Didn’t get a lot of touches, but slung a cool pass. 

Maker – B – He’s enormous! Had a big transition dunk. 

McDaniels – B – He’s a small-things king, lots of cutting and smart play, and it’s easy to not really notice him on offense, meanwhile he’s put up 10 points. Cutting always fits. He also had an exceptional block on a seemingly uncontested dunk. The defense will always be there. He also banked in his three on an angle from which people don’t intend to use the glass.

Nowell – B – Finished a wild hook layup high off glass — which he needed to unfurl, even against the smaller size of Cairns. A ton of defensive activity, really bothering the dribble as a nail helper.

Temple – B – Fouled approximately 10 seconds upon entering the game. The man tries hard, even in games when no one else is! He also cut well and kept the third-stringers competent. A good showing. Rajakovic used him as the vet alongside the 905 squad, which was the right move. 

Rakakovic – A – Interesting to see Gradey Dick move into the top 10 of the rotation in the first half, which seemed like it was kind of a dress rehearsal for a real rotation. That came, of course, with a number of players on the injured list, but was still a change. Not sure what else to say here.

Things I saw:

1 – The loudest moment of the night at Scotiabank was for the free T-shirts during the first break in play and then again towards the end of the third quarter. So, make of that what you will. I think people just really love free T-shirts. 

2 – Basically no handoff offense from the elbows in this one. Not sure if that is meaningful against Cairns, but Toronto’s offense did look different than it did against Sacramento. Far more pick and rolls. They weren’t always successful! Not that it matters or is predictive against Cairns, and the team definitely slowed to first gear after the first couple possessions of the game, but it is something at least to take note of. 

3 – I just want to thank all of you for reading. It’s still surreal that I’m at Scotiabank for these games as a media member, and it’s not possible without all of you. So with the start of the new season, I just want to thank everyone for reading along, chatting in the comment section, and just kicking it with Raptors Republic in general. Love you.