In a game in which neither team seemed to want the victory, the Raps prevailed by 7. While dismissing this lackluster affair as the epitome of pre-season hoops is understandable, there were some positive nuggets for Raps fans.
Our first string centre played like one. Jonas Valanciunas had 11 points & 8 boards, & moved extremely well. It’s easy to forget what a huge man he is when you watch him run with speed & efficiency. He scored a bucket with a skyhook, a shot we don’t see often enough today. If he wants to channel his inner Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, that works for me.
Here’s a reach, but I’ll throw it out there anyway: our scoring was nicely balanced again. Sure, 82 points won’t win you many games when it counts, but it’s positive to get 14 from DeMar, a dozen from Ed Davis (yay!), & 9 from Anderson & Lucas (who dished out some lovely assists). Terrence Ross went 1/7, which is certainly unpleasant, but his defence was solid,& he was +13.
Jose Calderon was scoreless, & then was shut down with some sort of hamstring problem. We’ll monitor that situation, & pass along news as we get it. Bargnani sat down after 24 minutes & 7 points. Landry Fields still hasn’t found his stroke from distance (0/3), & I’m getting a bit tired of hearing him described as Shane Battier Lite. He hasn’t shown much so far – is it too early to be concerned?
Some observations on the Pistons: I like a few of their new faces, like Kravtsov & Singler, & Williams made Ross’s night miserable by blocking 3 outside jumpers. Their mobile big man Munroe is a potential All-Star. But Austin Daye had any number of open looks and couldn’t hit (2/11 includes 0/3 from distance), Andre Drummond was a non-factor (2 points) & Johnny Flynn demonstrated once again why he can’t stick in the NBA. Flynn is quick enough, but makes bad turnovers & still can’t shoot from outside. Charlie V didn’t see the floor – do they think he’s done? If so, will they buy him out?
Final thought on the Raptors – I’m liking what I’m seeing. The kids are alright.
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.