It took five preseason games but both Landry Fields and Terrence Ross are finally showing some signs of life.
After a slow start in Toronto's 97-95 win over the Boston Celtics on Wednesday, Ross exploded for 11 of his 19 points in the second quarter. Fields joined the fun with 11 of his 14 points in the third.
This is a promising sign for two of Toronto's key bench contributors.
"I'm not just looking for points from Terrence," Dwane Casey said after the game. "I'm looking for him to make [good] decisions with the ball and then definitely on the defensive end which he gave us. The points from him are gravy. I don't want him out there looking to score. We know he can score. He has to take that next step where he can defend and make the decision -- ‘Where is my next option?'"
Ross' previous preseason high came in the Raptors first preseason game against against the very same Celtics.
"He was engaged tonight as he was the first Boston game and that's the Terrence we need to see every day," Casey added.
Although Ross has showed some potential promise, Fields has completely struggled to find his game.
Fields hasn't been the player the Raptors though they were getting when they signed him to a three-year deal last Summer, but a big reason for that has been an elbow injury that has caused him to completely reconstruct his shot.
While he isn't back to 100 per cent yet, Wednesday night was a step in the right direction. Field's got his 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the floor including a three-pointer.
"He did a heck of a job of kind of running the show," Casey said of Fields' play with the second unit. "Kind of settling things down, made some shots which we really don't need from him, but it helped us in that situation until we get a groove or rhythm offensively within that second unit."
Offense aside, Fields has done a solid job defending and rebounding throughout this whole preseason. This has not gone unnoticed by coach Casey.
"I love his leadership, kind of kept the ship afloat, got some big rebounds, made some defensive stops and guarded [Kelly] Olynyk a little. I was really happy. He was a big bright spot for us."
Wednesday night's game, as is the case with most preseason contests, existed mostly as an opportunity for the Raptors bench to get some extended and attempt to build some sort of chemistry together.
It's unclear whether or not this worked - the back-up point guard situation remains a bit of a mess -- but it did end up being an opportunity for guys like Fields, Ross and Quincy Acy - who had 8 rebounds and 3 points in 23 minutes - to prove their worth with the second unit.
Ultimately, the Raptors bench remains a work in progress and on nights like Wednesday you begin to see the potential in a few pieces. There is still work to be done, but, at the very least, it's a positive to see the second-stringers hold their own.
The Raptors improve to 5-1 on the preseason and will have a few days off before taking on the New York Knicks on Monday at the Air Canada Centre.
Canadian-born forward Kelly Olynyk made his first trip the Air Canada Centre as a member of the Boston Celtics on Wednesday. He scored 13 points had grabbed nine rebounds in 26 minutes.