Raptors vs Nuggets Game-Day Preview: Playoffs!?

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

The Raptors get their first taste of (Summer League) playoff action Thursday as they take on the Denver Nuggets in Las Vegas.


Yes Jim Mora, the Toronto Raptors have finally made the playoffs -- well, the Vegas Summer League playoffs anyway.

With their sixth place finish during the three-game preliminary play, the Raptors earned themselves a bye into the second round.

Toronto sealed their spot with an 81-70 victory over Ben Maclemore and the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday.

The Nuggets defeated the New Orleans Pelicans (still getting used to that name) 87-82 on Wednesday, earning their position in this tilt.

Although it is Summer League and the outcomes are ultimately meaningless, it is nice to have semi competitive basketball to watch in the summer, particularly when it features young players like Jonas Valanciunas, Terrence Ross and Quincy Acy - guys who will be on the roster next season and could by and large be called upon to contribute in a meaningful way.

A win for the Raptors means at least one more game where we get to watch these guys play, which is enough to root for in my opinion.

Things to watch for:

Entering last night's action, Valanciunas was fourth in the league in scoring at 20 points per game and seventh in rebounding at 9.3 rebounds per game. The seven-footer has been lauded by several sources as being the best bigman in Vegas this summer and has played the part, using some newly added muscle mass to bang in the paint against opposing defenders.

The newest Raptor Dwight Buycks is all set to suit up for the Raptors once again. In his first game with the team this summer, Buycks scored nine points, had two assists and two steals. Catching a glimpse of Buycks in this setting should give you an idea of what Toronto's backup point guard situation - a spot now shared with D.J Augustin -- will be like for the upcoming season.

Ross has not had a great Summer League thus far. He is shooting just 25 percent from downtown and averaging only 12.3 points per game. Ideally, Ross will use this contest to be a tad more assertive, and perhaps make a concerted effort to have his presence felt for at least one game during this summer sched.

On the other side of this matchup is the Nuggets who have been led by a trio of swingmen. This contingent consists of Evan Fournier, Jordan Hamilton and Quncy Miller - a former teammate of Raptors forward Acy.

The three have combined to average 36 of the Denver's 74.7 points per game and should present a sizeable challenge for Ross, Chris Wright and Acy that should, at the very least, be exciting to watch.

The game will go at 6 PM from Cox Pavillion in Las Vegas.

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