Was last night’s the most entertaining pre-season game your scribe has yet witnessed? I’d say so, despite the precautionary no-shows of Jonas Valanciunas & Kyle Lowry. Somebody forgot to tell both teams that the game was meaningless, because there were a ton of hard fouls, and the pace was as speedy as mid-season. Coach Dwane Casey’s stated desire to play faster has certainly been heard, as the Raps were sprinting all game.
My notes feature a number of fine plays (and a few of the other kind), so here’s a sample:
Q1 8:38 – Real Madrid blocks 3 Raps shots in sequence.
6:06 – Amir Johnson scores on Jose Calderon set-up, then returns favour with pass from foul line for JC layup.
4:39 – First appearance of Terrence Ross. He takes first shot at 0:56 and…AIRBALL.
Ed Davis is getting after it on boards, but can’t finish. Game stats: 3 points from line but no buckets, 10 boards. Still a work in progress.
Q2 10:49 – Ross hits first jumper. I love his form: big leap, release from top, serious arc.
9:45 – John Lucas pours in 3. Great game for him should cement position. Excellent ball handling, 16 points on 7/10 shooting & a +13 plus/minus.
8:06 – Real matches Raps in speed & ball movement. Everyone gets touches for open looks.
1:48 – Landry Fields has been OK, but makes bad, unforced turnover.
Q3 11:02 – Andrea Bargnani hits first 3 after 2 misses. He’s taking good shots in rhythm.
9:52 – Jose rolls ankle after hitting 3; hobbles off.
8:34 – DeMar DeRozan gets second “carrying” call (guilty both times).
7:32 – I like this Martynas Pocius guy from Real – can we get him (he’s Lithuanian)?
6:28 – DeMar’s fourth foul on Real 3-ball. Not good.
3:55 – Raps go small. Always good to have another gear available.
Q4 11:07 – Alan Anderson makes nice baseline move for bucket.
9:15 – Ross’ first 3!
8:50 – Ross gets great defensive position to take charge on Real drive. Well done, rookie.
2:58 – Jose to Amir for alley-oop.
Last few seconds – Real bombing away from distance, cuts Rap lead but not enough.
Players who helped themselves:
DeRozan – shot well & aggressive driving to the basket.
Bargnani – willing to engage on boards; played within himself; shot will come back.
Lucas – see above; small man will be folk hero if he keeps up this level of play.
Ross – took good shots; moved well on both ends of court.
Anderson – showed his veteran chops with ball fakes on strong moves to basket; will need to shoot better.
Johnson – looked comfortable in fast pace; found seams on offence for easy hoops.
Players who held their ground:
Aaron Gray – don’t expect much & you won’t be disappointed.
Davis – good boards, bad shooting.
Calderon – always contributes points & passes.
Fields – I’d like to see more. Get on the boards, young man.
Players who need to step it up:
Dominic McGuire – negligible contribution; will need to find a role.
Linas Kleiza – can’t do enough elsewhere to overcome 1/5 shooting (but +20 for game – drinks on him!)
Jamaal Magloire, Jerel McNeil, Chris Wright – DNP-CD; never a good sign in pre-season.
A win is a win is a win (apologies to Gertrude Stein), but more than that, it was entertaining. I’m hungry for more.
Brian Boake is a staff writer for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.