With the preliminary games out of the way, the Las Vegas Summer League has now moved into the knockout portion of its tournament. Every team in attendance is still guaranteed to play five games, but if a team wants more -- and, most importantly, the title -- they've got to win all the way through now. For the Toronto Raptors, the tourney's one-seed and an undefeated 3-0, the Summer League championship is the goal.
Toronto faces off against a 2-2 Golden State Warriors team led by the 38th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, Patrick McCaw, who is averaging 12.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.8 steals through four games. They also have man mountain Mamadou Ndiaye on their team, but he's barely playing. (What a bummer.)
For the Raptors, the story starts and ends with the play of Norman Powell. As a reminder: In three games so far, Powell has lead the team with averages of 21.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.0 steals, while shooting 44 percent from the field, 53 percent from 3, and 91 percent from the free throw line. When Blake Murphy (of Raptors Republic) joked with Powell after the Raps had crushed the Kings in the first game that he'd never win the MVP of Summer League if the team kept winning in lopsided fashion, he answered: "Yeah, but if we win they'll have to give it to me." It was said with a smile, but you know Norm wants that top spot.
If the Raptors win tonight they'll be in the quarterfinals of the Las Vegas Summer League. That game will be at 4pm EST on Saturday, July 16. Opponent TBD.
Tip-off for tonight's game is at 10pm so let's settle in together and watch the Raptors go for Summer League glory.