Back At ACC To See Raptors Maul Grizzlies

I made my first trip to the ACC for basketball this season. Let’s be honest it wasn’t much of a game on Wednesday night. The Grizzlies looked like they decided to hibernate from this pre-season contest. The Raptors took control of this game and were never really challenged the entire night.

It was however a night that was cause for worry as Kyle Lowry left the game with an injury to his left ringer finger that is expected to be evaluated some time today. Jonas Valanciunas took a hard shot and need only a few stitches in his chin and coach Casey said in a regular season game could have returned. It was not a gash like we saw in the main event of the UFC show that was in town about a month ago.

Speaking of the UFC had some fun talking with Amir Johnson who was at those fights. We talked about a number of things and as always it was a fun conversation. You’ll be able to hear it on the next episode of This Week in Raptorland. In addition will have some thoughts from DeMar DeRozan on how he has been playing this pre-season. That episode should be out next Tuesday.

In addition date to be determined but Jack Armstrong will be stopping by to preview this Raptors season. It is always a highlight when Jack drops by and he often has some interesting things to say and I expect this time will be no different. We just have to set something up with Jack’s schedule which is always a busy one but he does always find time for us in the DNB which is fantastic.

As for the game itself honestly it was hard to make many evaluations from it. This was a pre-season game that one team showed up for and one team just didn’t. The good news was the Raptors were the team that showed up to play. Some points worth noting:

  • Casey still says that the back-up point guard spot is up for grabs. Bad news for D.J Augustin and good news for Dwight Buycks and Julyan Stone.
  • DeMar DeRozan remains the most consistent performer the Raptors have had this pre-season.
  • Landry Fields really seems to have found his game finally after a long search and battling with injures and recovering both physically and mentally.
  • Terrence Ross is gaining some confidence scoring but he still needs to remember it will be his play on defensive end that will determine his minutes.
  • Kyle Lowry has been turning up his play and it continued tonight until the injury. Will see if it is a minor one. I would suspect minor or not he might not play Friday. In addition he might not have played much anyway with some indecision on his back-up.
  • Nice night for Austin Daye and Raptors as a group picking it up from long range. Steve Novak has been on the sidelines but seems on pace to be ready for opening night.
  • For the moment Rudy Gay seems content to be Robin to DeRozan’s Batman will see if that remains the case going into the real season. It seems clear what both said last season remains true. They have said they can play together and they are showing it thus far in the pre-season.

Probably some other things I could note but those are the major ones that come to mind. Hansbrough continues to be the sixth man for this group to this point. I wasn’t crazy about the signing but he has seemed to gel with this team. In a bench that has been far from great this pre-season he has been the one consistent element.

Just one more pre-season game Friday in Milwaukee and then it starts for real next Wednesday against Boston. How this team gets out of the gate is going to be really important. They can not afford to fall behind if they do the pressure to take a part this group will increase. 

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