Toronto 119 Final
Recap | Box Score
94 Cleveland
D. Carroll 18 MIN | 6-11 FG | 1-3 3FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 5 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 13 PTS | +15 +/-

Still seems to be finding a comfort level with his jumper, and his pick-and-roll game is a little rusty, but everything else you want to see from him was on display here. Jumping passing lanes, pushing the ball in transition, and cutting in the set offense, it was all there. This was encouraging, especially since it feels like a month since his impressive preseason opener.

P. Siakam 20 MIN | 3-4 FG | 0-1 3FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | +2 +/-

Got the nod with the starters, and man, is his trial-by-fire ever entertaining. He’s guarded Kevin Love, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Danilo Gallinari, and Jamal Crawford for possessions now. He didn’t look perfect, but his energy was infectious, he did a great job getting back to defend in transition, and got to show off a nice move in the post.

J. Valanciunas 20 MIN | 5-5 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | +14 +/-

I think it’s pretty telling that everyone seems fairly disappointed in Valanciunas early on, yet he’s shooting 14-of-26 with 39 points and 29 rebounds in 75 minutes so far this preseason. He’s still working his way back into regular-season form after some (arguably overdue) offseason downtime and doesn’t look as assertive as you’d like establishing position or presenting himself on the roll, but the jumper’s looking good and his touch is plenty soft.

K. Lowry 20 MIN | 6-9 FG | 3-4 3FG | 10-10 FT | 1 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 25 PTS | +11 +/-

Scored 25 points in 20 minutes and only took nine field-goal attempts. He dished six assists, too. He also hit a ridiculous pull—up three in transition, just to let you know he’s all the way back. Had some turnover issues early, but a couple were trying to be overly creative, and come on, 25 points on nine shots.

N. Powell 31 MIN | 3-7 FG | 2-3 3FG | 3-4 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | +6 +/-

You could almost see the weight come off his shoulders when he canned a corner three in the second quarter. He’d been pressing a bit in the preseason, and a return to a familiar role with the rotation players seemed to help him relax a bit. After that first one fell, he settled in on the offensive end and looked more like late-season Powell than the early-camp version. I think it’s telling about where he is that the Raptors sent him back out to work late, possibly to keep building the confidence back up.

P. Patterson 13 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-2 3FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +19 +/-

Tough to say anything interesting given he played 13 minutes and just did what he does. The tweaked jumper isn’t a sure improvement just yet, but he hit the glass, attacked and kept the ball moving, and had active hands in passing lanes. Somehow was plus-infinity, as always.

B. Caboclo 15 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-2 3FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | +5 +/-

Got dunked on, missed a couple of early looks, and didn’t wilt. This seems like nothing, but it’s progress. From there, he had a nice drive with a lefty finish, mustered an on-ball steal thanks to his length, and tag-teamed a transition block with Poeltl. Mostly, he just continued to look comfortable on defense, which is a big step for him, even if the offense is a few steps behind.

E.J. Singler 2 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | +8 +/-

Saved a ball and turned it into an assist. Has to be a bit discouraging for him to see two minutes while Crawford and Heslip combine for 39.

L. Nogueira 16 MIN | 3-4 FG | 0-1 3FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | +9 +/-

As far as Nogueira games go, this was about as good a statement as he could hope to make. He was incredibly active on the defensive end, contesting at the rim and using his length to disrupt, even jumping a passing lane for a coast-to-coast dunk. And he stayed mostly within himself on offense, flashing his playmaking (albeit with an overaggressive high-low turnover) and even attempting a late-clock three (he missed).

J. Poeltl 12 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | +3 +/-

Other than a really soft miss at the rim on a VanVleet dump-off and a subsequent shaking-it-off defensive foul, there wasn’t much to complain about here. He contested well at the rim, ran the floor, defended in transition, and flashed some touch. Needs to show a bit more to close the gap with Nogueira, I think, but patience is key here.

F. VanVleet 15 MIN | 3-5 FG | 2-3 3FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | +5 +/-

Surprised he didn’t turn and wink at Lowry when he unleashed a PU3IT of his own. Came in, ran the offense capably and within control for the most part, showed some range, continued to prove that unless the team feels the need for a specialist or forward depth, he’s probably their guy.

C. Joseph 19 MIN | 7-10 FG | 1-1 3FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 17 PTS | +15 +/-

The confidence he seems to have in his pull-up jumper right now has me way too excited. He spent the third quarter oscillating between funky drives to the rim and pull-ups over screens, and he wound up piling in 17 points in 19 minutes, all within the offensive flow. Like his starting counterpart, he looks ready.

D. Crawford 27 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-2 3FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | +15 +/-

A little surprised he got so much run while Heslip and VanVleet sat until late and Singler didn’t play until even later. The Raptors have a good idea what Crawford is by now as a potential low-usage, defense-first type, and he did nothing to detract from the case he’s made so far. He’s just solid.

B. Heslip 12 MIN | 2-4 FG | 2-3 3FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | +3 +/-

Hit a pair of threes. Was somehow open for one of them. That’s on the Cavs. The effort he’s showing defensively is nice, too, and necessary if he’s going to be a non-zero at that end. Activity can go a long way against bench units.

Dwane Casey

Managing rest well, playing it cautious with injuries, and the young guys are keeping up the effort and defensive principles until the final buzzer. Tough to evaluate the primary defense with two starters out, but it was another tough start at that end of the floor, which is a bit concerning.

Five Things We Saw

  1. The Raptors gave DeMar DeRozan the night off to rest. Lowry and DeRozan love to talk about trading possessions, quarters, and games as the lead guy, so it’s been funny to see them take that to the extreme over the last two games – they combined for 45 points on 20 field goal attempts in 38 total minutes against the Clippers and Cavaliers.
  2. Jared Sullinger (foot) and Terrence Ross (knee) also sat out. Sullinger has now missed three games, but with the back-to-back scenario, don’t get too concerned until tomorrow. Ross had an MRI come back negative, for what it’s worth, but I’d be a little surprised if he plays Friday.
  3. Still a bit early to speculate 10 days out from cut-down day, but my gut is that VanVleet has the inside track on the 15th spot still, and that Nogueira has created some breathing room between himself and Poeltl for the backup center spot. These are fluid, though, and there’s a ton of practice time left.
  4. Some of the Blue Jays were at the game rooting on their Raptors counterparts ahead of their ALCS opener in Cleveland tomorrow. Jays in 6, RIP Josh Tomlin.
  5. From here, the Raptors head home in what’s a silly back-to-back. I get that it can help to prepare or whatever, but it’s the preseason. It’s the lone home game, too, so expect guys to play but only short stints again – Casey suggested again Thursday that the team won’t get closer to their “regular” rotations until the final two preseason games.

  • DeMax DeContract

    MISSING: Jarrod Uthoff – Please contact Raptors staff if seen.

    • Mark boothe

      Yea whats the deal with him not one preseason game

      • DeMax DeContract

        No idea. I thought he had originally declined being drafted in the 2nd round and now he’s being shut out of playing time for pre season.. Yikes. Tough break. I’m sure something we don’t know.

        • BlakeMurphy

          Why do we jump to “something we don’t know” ? There are 19 healthy guys in camp, eight of them bigs. I thought he’d play more, too, but it’s probably just a depth/practice performance thing, not anything nefarious.

          • DeMax DeContract

            I’m saying it’s something we don’t know because literally none of us do know why he isn’t playing. I’m certainly not an assistant coach, so nobody can really confirm. Just seemed odd to me that he isn’t getting playing time at all even in garbage minutes, when Bruno is (who will likely be an inactive player for the majority of games this year). As well as other signees who didn’t have 2nd round pick offers are playing over him. Yes, I understand he’d technically a 4, but could probably play as a 3 in pre season.

            • BlakeMurphy

              You do know why he isn’t playing, though. There are 19 guys in camp, eight of them bigs. There aren’t enough minutes, and the team has deemed it more valuable to give them to the youngsters on deals and competing for a rotation spot. It’s unfortunate, and I would have liked to see more, but the answer to your question is an easy one. Occam’s razor.

              • DeMax DeContract

                I would have liked to see him play as well, especially with all the hype. But at the end of the day it is speculation unless coming from a direct source. Hopefully he plays well in the 905.

                • BlakeMurphy

                  Tell you & @disqus_XXCJt8YX0a:disqus what: Assuming Argentine media doesn’t dominate pre-game scrum, I’ll try to ask Casey if there’s a sense of wanting to get him some run in the last exhibition they’re treating like an exhibition and I’ll include it in the pre-game notes. At least then we asked.

                • DeMax DeContract

                  That would be unreal!

                • Wild-ling #1

                  Given your higher level of engagement (with some of the most passionate fans in the 6ix, in the 21st century’s medium), maybe you could lay the responsibility for the (occasional, odd?) question where it belongs – on your dopey, obsessive readers 😉

                  “My readers at RR are very curious about Jared Uthoff …”

                  Just a thought. Carry on. 🙂

                • BlakeMurphy

                  Ha, I don’t think I could get away with that in a Casey scrum, it’s a little unprofessional, but I have mentioned reader polls/excitement to players in one-on-one scenarios before (like when Norm was getting Summer League hype, that readers wanted Brice Johnson, etc). Just not appropriate for a scrum setting with the coach. I’ll see what I can do to get info tonight.

                • Wild-ling #1

                  Seems pretty clear they’re “all-in” with Siakam. He’s quick and unrelenting, hs hops, length, can run in transition, drive, will shoot the mid-range soon enough, and can guard 3-4-5. Quite a package …

                  Between Sully, Jakob and Pascal, I don’t think we’ll miss Biz, Luis or James Johnson at all … save in the emotional sense). 🙂

        • Dunkenstein

          I don’t think they’re pretty, eased with Bruce of but since he was a first round pick he gets the inside track.

          From what I’ve seen of him, he destroys Bruno in raw ability.

      • Hotshot

        well if he doesn’t show up tomorrow it will be his last chance, against San Lorenzo they are playing an opponent that Uthoff should be able to make the team.

      • Noelle

        because there are 7 bigs in front of him needing minutes? JV, Pat, Sully, Lucas, Jakob, Pascal, Bruno. Last thing they need right now is another developing big, if they’re pleased with the development of the young guys they already got under contract.

    • wtf 8838

      Cavs rested Lebron. Raps countered with Uthoff to even things up.

    • n8

      While it’s a bit surprising that he hasn’t even got a chance to run with the team, I’m fairly sure he agreed to stay with the 905 so he’s definitely in the future plans for the Raptors. Maybe they just see him as a talented body for the 905 team, or maybe it’s just with all the bigs and wing players vying for rotation spots ahead of him there’s just no way to squeeze any meaningful minutes in for him.

      • Wild-ling #1

        I’m not so sure about his staying with the team. I thought he and Van Vleet declined offers to be drafted in the second round specificlly to retin control over their futures. Uthoff was actually ranked 19th in ESPN’s 2016 pre-draft analytics model. And even if they agreed to go to the 905, we could lose either to another NBA team t any time. So I find ll the time for Crawford little odd. I won’t argue … just seems odd.

        ESPN’s anlaytics ttop 40 draft projections (interesting that Uthoff was 1th, while Sikam doesn’t even register – and yet he’s getting no love in pre-season …)

        • Noelle

          What’s weird isn’t the no love, but the not a word about him, nor questions from the press that we know of? My guess would be, if not a medical issue, with Casey pulling the strings, the kid’s not putting in the work. Or it could be just a numbers game with JV, Pat, Sully, Lucas, Jakob, Pascal, Bruno in front of him and needing minutes. Last thing they need right now is another developing big. He’s probably happy to work all preseason with the big boys, then take his guarantee to the 905 and possibly be this year’s Axel Toupane, or Ronald Roberts

          • BlakeMurphy

            I’m not sure the “nor questions from the press” part is really fair. You can’t ask a tryout player “why aren’t you playing?” and Casey isn’t going to feel obliged to defend his preseason rotations publicly. It’d be different if a rotation player were benched, but he’d look at you like you had three heads if “why aren’t you playing your 19th man more in camp” came up. You have to read it for what it likely is, that the team either doesn’t feel he’s there yet, or that they need those minutes for the other young bigs, or some combination of both.

            FWIW, his jumper is beautiful, and he’s among the best shooters in the portions of practice that get opened up. But the questions some had about his NBA game won’t get answered in jump-shooting drills, obviously.

            • Wild-ling #1

              I’d be surprised if the press corps is simply too shy to ask why Uthoff hasn’t had a sniff. Casey has been fairly open in saying that his starting C (JV) needs to give more on the defensive end (the offensive flair isn’t enough – or even priority) and that Lucas needs to show more consistency.

              Maybe it is just a numbers thing. Or maybe hasn’t pushed quite hard enough in practice. But it doesn’t take “three heads” to ask, does it? … And Casey seems quite solicitous of the journalists in in the scrums. Obviously the fans have some questions … I thought the reporters were (amongst other things) our proxies in all of this? 🙂

              • BlakeMurphy

                I didn’t say they were shy. I’m a part of that press corps, I’ll ask Casey whatever I find to be relevant. It’s just not a pressing question, and it has a pretty obvious answer. Given time constraints during availability and that you already know the answer Casey’s going to give, it’s not really a good use of limited time & questions.

                • Wild-ling #1

                  It’s cool thing that you come on here and interact with the fans, Blake. It must be frustrating, at times – I’ve seen Michel Grange accused of all sorts of things in the comment sections (I think he’s a good writer). But he doesn’t bother to reply … and so become personally engaged with the personalities and debates raging here. 🙂

                  So … Well, I hope keeping in touch with the more engaged fans works for you. But I’m sure there are more burning questions to ask than about Jared Uthoff. “happy trails” … 😉

            • Noelle

              Thanks, but I get it. As I’d already included in a couple of posts, it’s likely a numbers thing, and they’re happy with what they see from the young bigs already under contract.

  • Mike$

    Cory looks confident with that mid range J. Even without 3pt range if he continues to pull the trigger like that off the pick it should open up a bit more space for the team.

    I like helsip. Vanvleet is the better player but that shooting is just insane. If were going to have DD or Powell carry the ball up while the 3rd string point is on anyway why not opt for the shooting? Vanvleet looks like he could defend at the NBA level though which might be more important

    • Lans

      I so agree. I hope that we can find a way to keep Vv, he’s just ready, fearless and can do the job right now, but what gappens after DW comes back, for that reason, my 15th man has to be Heslip. Three point shooting covers a multitude of basketball sins, and this kid can shoot. That would give us TR, KL, NP, PP and Heslip as our deep threats, while CJ and DD carves up the middle jumpers. With better 3-pt shooting we’d not have needed seven games during the playoffs to advance.
      Go Raptors Go

      • Jo6ix

        And DC.. He can hit from deep

    • Wild-ling #1

      Heslip has agreed to stay with the 905, if he doesn’t make the team (though he could be picked up by another team at any time from there). And yeah, he’s looked impressive. 🙂

      • Bargsgone

        if he slip, Mark Cuban will pick him up

  • getbackjojo

    I LOVE Heslip’s shooting. For a 15th man, I’d like his capacity to go supernova when we’re down big. Plus, he seems to do a good enough job running the team when given the chance, and he generally makes the right pass.

    • Dunkenstein

      Tough call. Vleet is a far superior defender and facilitator. He slipped, of course is the great shooter.

      * I typed He’s lip (( there it goes again) I’m trying to type his name but Samsung spell check keeps on correcting it….

  • Pong

    Bebes got the passing skills of Marc Gasol and the length and blocking ability of Whiteside. We got him paired up with Westbrook 2.0 as well. Things are looking good.

    • Wild-ling #1

      Really?? Boy-oh-boy! 🙂

    • Camer Armsrton

      And the 3 point stroke of rookie Dirk.

  • Wild-ling #1

    Quite surprised Poeltl didn’t play until the 4th …

    Lucas played welI. And the fact that he got minutes throughout the game, and with rotation players, may be more telling than anything else. But I also thought Poeltl showed more than Blake seemed to, even at that. He seems very active and aware, to me. Better than a B-. But whatever … I’m not sure I have it right. 🙂

    • Lans

      For me, this young man is going to be a player. He seems to always be in the right place as needed. I love his I.q., I also like his approach to his career. He says he sees it as a process which he’ll fully grasp over time, that to me is maturity. From what I’ve seen, he also is a fairly good shooter. I was pleased tonight, just a lot of tough decisions to make.
      Go Raptors Go

      • Wild-ling #1

        Yeah. Poeltl was out there with the “end-of-the-bench mob” (Bruno, Heslip, Van Vleet, Singler, etc.). Shortly after he got in, in the 4th, guys started jacking up shots and giving up transition buckets – and the Cavs cut the led to about 12. There was some poor passing, too. The guards/wings did later calm down and make some shots, though, I thought Poeltl helped a lot with perimeter and help D, and closing off the lane. Changed some shots and got his hand on some balls. And the “end of the bench mob” got the lead back up to 25 to close it out ….

        But I’m surprised that that’s all Jakob had to work with. Lucas made some nice plays, to be sure … I wouldn’t say Jakob was overshadowed, though, so much as passed over. For this game, anyway … 🙁

        • Wild-ling #1

          On second thought, maybe Casey is just sticking with his “you gotta earn it” philosophy. I thought Poeltl played quite well. But maybe he’s got to really stand out to push past a guy who has more NBA experience (Lucas)..

          Fair enough, I suppose … Onward. 🙂

      • Plenty of Wing Span

        So it’s Tyler Hansborough with two functional arms and hands, and 7’0″ tall? Good enough for me

  • Danny Tam

    Is Will still doing the post game Raptors Reaction podcasts?

  • raptorfan07

    Without question i would keep Heslip, 3 point shooting is big and needed to win games in the NBA.

  • justsayin

    Siakam’s activity on defense is off the charts. He made some rookie mistakes and looked to have gotten a rookie whistle, but he looks like a steal at 27 especially if he can learn to shoot a little bit. And that low pass from Lowry that he picked up running at full speed on the break? That’s talent.

  • Dunkenstein

    Did Lowry score 25 points in the first half?

    • Adriiian

      He looks real good. But we’ve seen this Lowry before and he can’t sustain over a season. If he and DeMar can keep up this form throughout the season we can win the title. Book it guys. 17, champs.

      • distorsun

        Keyword for this year: balance

  • Buffalo/Toronto

    Lowry playing strong 10/10 from the free throw line all in the first half. He is just a tank, steam rolling over people. The drive on McCray was hilarious.
    I am most impressed with Pascal. Pascal’s block from behind on Kyrie – Biyombo can’t do that. and then the one-on-one block in the 3rd quarter wow!
    We still don’t have the rim protector when you get blown by, but the one-on-one D and perimeter D will be improved from last year. A lot of athletes out there causing havoc. yak needs to finish stronger. Jonas, we will see…need to see some more enthusiasm.

  • distorsun

    I had to read all of Blake’s 15 articles to convince myself about Poetl_
    Still unsure about this pick.

    But Pascal looks really good.