The Raptors showed they can still compete with the elite this week, taking the win in their preseason encounter with last year’s NBA Champions, the Cleveland Cavaliers. The result didn’t do much to enhance Toronto’s standing in the Bet365 Eastern Conference NBA betting though, as the Cavs remain the 5/11 favourites – with Toronto out to third-favourite at a (now) seemingly huge price of 12/1.
Perhaps they’ll need to make a splash, something Zach Lowe recently predicted won’t happen but that’s certainly in the realm of possibility. LaMarcus Aldridge, anyone? At the very least, they should be able to approach last season’s success. In other words, the preseason has done little to change what we thought of the Raptors and their standing among the NBA’s top teams.
And hey, they’re finally playing a home game in the preseason! Not only that, but they’re hosting Argentine basketball royalty in a San Lorenzo de Almagro squad that won their first ever LNB Title last season. They’ve since lost former NBA player and Finals MVP Walter Herrmann but remain an opponent the Raptors are excited to host, and one that should prove at least a decent challenge in the last exhibition game the Raptors will treat as such (their final two outings are set to more closely resemble regular season games).
The game tips off at 7 p.m and airs on NBA TV Canada. And yes, you bet your sweet behind (I see you – keep hitting those leg days, it’s working) I’ll be watching Jays-Indians from the ACC.
To help set the stage, I would have loved to reach out to a San Lorenzo de Almagro blogger, or at least attend shootaround, but neither wound up possible (I am unfamiliar with the Argentine blog scene and there’s no shootaround in a back-to-back scenario). But hey, here are some highlights from their 2015-16 championship season!
Terrence Ross sat out Thursday with a sore knee, and Jared Sullinger missed a third straight due to foot soreness. The back-to-back scenario suggests the Raptors could rest some other names, though head coach Dwane Casey suggested the Raptors could play the back-to-back straight to help with mental preparation for the season to come. Consider Ross and Sullinger game-time calls with no shootaround due to the back-to-back.
As for the others, here’s a best pass, without accounting for any potential shake-up since the last game.
PG: Kyle Lowry, Cory Joseph, Fred VanVleet, Brady Heslip,
Delon Wright (shoulder)
SG: DeMar DeRozan, Norman Powell, Drew Crawford
SF: DeMarre Carroll, Terrence Ross (knee), Bruno Caboclo, E.J. Singler
PF: Jared Sullinger (foot), Patrick Patterson, Pascal Siakam, Jarrod Uthoff
C: Jonas Valanciunas, Lucas Nogueira, Jakob Poeltl, Yanick Moreira
For reference, here’s how the minutes have shaken out so far:
Known commodities: Patterson 75 (18.8/game), Valanciunas 75 (18.8), Joseph 71 (17.8), Lowry 58 (19.3), DeRozan 55 (18.3), Carroll 52 (17.3)
Getting acclimated: Sullinger 23 (23)
Competition 1: Siakam 78 (19.5), Nogueira 58 (14.5), Poeltl 48 (12)
Competition 2: Powell 90 (22.5), Ross 50 (16.7)
Competition 3: Crawford 79 (19.8), VanVleet 62 (15.5), Heslip 21 (10.5), Singler 20 (6.7), Uthoff/Moreira 0
Other: Caboclo 44 (11), Wright 0
San Lorenzo de Almagra updates
I really don’t know what to expect here, but here’s how the minutes have broken down so far this season for the defending champions, who have opened their LigaA season 3-1:
|Jerome Meyinsse||United States||22.5||9.5||4.8||1.3|
|Guillermo Diaz||Puerto Rico||21.5||11.5||1.8||2.5|
Diaz is a name that may stand out from his time with the Puerto Rican national team, as he played spot minutes in both the Tuto Marchand Cup and the FIBA Americas Championship last summer. He’s also had some Summer League and D-League reps, even getting a six-game regular season audition with the Clippers in 2007-08. Gabriel Deck and Selem Safar suited up for Argentina in that same FIBA Americas tournament, winning silver medals and punching their ticket to the Olympics in the process (only Deck made the actual Olympic roster, though).
Meyinsse is the lone American on the roster, and he’s played four NBA preseason games over the last two seasons with Flamengo, averaging 13.3 points and four rebounds. The Virginia product has never gotten an NBA look but has carved out what looks to be a nice career on the South Americans circuit over the last few years. He has three NBB (Brazil) championships, two All-Star appearances, a FIBA Intercontinental Cup, and a Finals MVP to his name.
You’re not gonna believe this, but the line for a preseason game against an international opponent that also involves a back-to-back is off the board. For historical context, the Raptors are 8-2 overall in preseason games against international opponents, taking losses to Maccabi Tel Aviv in 2005 and at Real Madrid in 2007. San Lorenzo has some history playing top North American teams, too – they played the Harlem Globetrotters back in 1951. So, yeah, your guess is as good as mine.