So let’s get the yearly speech out of the way about the pre-season and what it actually means in the grand scheme of things. The Raptors only lost once last pre-season and starting the season going a disappointing 4-19 to start the season. The wins and the loses are really not the most important thing at the end of day at this time of year. When the Raptors play these same Celtics on October 30th that will mean something that will matter. It is about what we can see from individuals and groups of players in various situations.
So with that out of the way the Raptors had some positives and negatives in what turned out to be a win in Boston. As a group the main negatives were both turnovers and fouls, which we saw to many of both in this game. Something typical of the pre-season but if it becomes a constant will be a growing concern heading into the season.
Individually Jonas Valanciunas had his issues with both in this one despite putting up a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds in between the fouls. He had already racked up 5 fouls with over 3 minutes to play in the third quarter. He also had three turnovers in this game as well but he was far from alone in that regard.
Raptors as group had 26 turnovers and of those 26 it was the starting 5 accounting for 16 of them with Rudy Gay with a team high 4. The good news was Gay led the Raptors with 17 point and maybe more importantly a very efficient 7-11 from the field. DeRozan had 13 and also was decent shooting 50% from the field on the night.
The Raptors second unit struggled on defensive end of the floor at times. The Raptor would consistently build leads in this game only to quite literally throw them away. Positives on the bench though as Tyler Hansbrough who sat out the inter-squad game Saturday was in full effect in Boston. He tied for the team lead in points with 17 points and had 9 rebounds and just because he has a reputation for it add a silly tech to the mix. Terrence Ross had a much better start to pre-season than he did in Las Vegas as he had 12 points and showed some of those defensive skills we were promised when he was drafted with 4 steals.
Acy, Morais, Novak, Stone and Wright all did not see action in this one. Raptors dominated on the glass out rebounding the Celtics 46-26 on the class. Canadian Kelly Olynck was playing for the Celtics and had 4 points and 5 assists but was just 1-5 from the field in his NBA Pre-Season Debut.
In the end the Raptors take their first contest where they keep score this year 97-89. They will make their home pre-season debut Wednesday against Minnesota. Pre-season basketball is just as fun as I remember it. It isn’t but it is part of the process in getting ready for a season. You need to keep in mind a great many things in the pre-season when playing another team. Overall what is their talent level and how much of their talent is actually playing in the game. Boston is a team that lacks talent and is project to be a front runner in the race for Andrew Wiggins so it really is not a quality opponent the Raptors faced in this one.
But for whatever it is truly worth the Raptors did get a win. It is better than losing even if it doesn’t count in the W or L columns at this point.