The Raptors got their Las Vegas Summer League off to a good start with a tight win over the New Orleans Pelicans, 96-93. With the Pels clinging to a five point lead late, it was Fred VanVleet who helped Toronto storm back; and it was his late tie-breaking bucket that sealed the win for the Raptors.
Yes, it’s only Summer League, but check out this grown man move from VanVleet to put the Pelicans away:
VanVleet finished the game with 18 points, on 7-of-15 shooting (including 2-of-5 from three), plus nine assists and three rebounds. As he did for the Raptors 905 last season, it was VanVleet’s job to direct the team, control the pace, and make plays — both for himself and for others. As the results suggest, VanVleet did it all with aplomb.
Not to be outdone, the other Raptors sophomore’s also played to their strengths. First, Pascal Siakam led the team with a 24 point, 4 rebound performance. The speedy forward shot 10-of-14 from the field and showed a few flashes of some more advanced moves. But worry not: Siakam is still flying down the court faster than most. Gotta love that energy.
Siakam’s frontcourt running mate, Jakob Poeltl, also did his thing with a controlled 12 points and 10 rebounds (including four on the offensive end). As has gradually emerged to be his MO, Jak played within himself, made smart moves and found himself more often than not in the right place at the right time. While it remains quite possible that Poeltl never becomes, say, an All-Star player, it looks exceedingly reasonable to say he’ll be a solid NBA dude for a long time.
The other player of note was a new face, Kennedy Meeks. Signed to a non-guaranteed contract (basically a training camp invite), Meeks bulled his way to 15 points and nine rebounds (including four on the offensive end). It remains to be seen where Meeks will end up come the start of the season, but he looks like a nice addition to the Raptors so far.
So, the Raptors kicked things off with a victory in the desert. DeMar DeRozan and Norman Powell are in the crowd to watch. The three young guns of the squad are playing well. And now the team is 1-0. Not bad.
Here’s some more post-game chatter from VanVleet and Meeks:
VanVleet talks post-game, after Raptors beat Pelicans at LVSL
Check out Fred VanVleet after his fantastic play in the Toronto Raptors' first game in Las Vegas.Posted by Raptors HQ on שבת 8 יולי 2017
After the win, Kennedy Meeks had some things to say from Las V...Posted by Raptors HQ on Saturday, July 8, 2017