Since the demand for Raptors basketball has steadily risen over the years, it’s cool that they’ve turned their training camp and preseason contests into something of a travelling road show. This year they’re in Quebec City at Laval University, and Thursday night was the chance for everyone in time to see some Toronto basketball.
That’s right, it was the Raptors annual intra-squad game. All but a pair of players — Marc Gasol and Kyle Lowry — played in the scrimmage, and while there’s not a ton of actual basketball insight to glean, it’s still fun to review what happened.
First up, the ever intrepid Blake Murphy of the Athletic has the teams:
Team 1: Brissett, Davis, RHJ, Ibaka, Robinson, Siakam, Taylor, Thomas, VanVleet— Blake Murphy (@BlakeMurphyODC) October 3, 2019
Team 2: Anunoby, Boucher, Hernandez, Johnson, Konate, McCaw, Miller, Payne, Powell
If asked, I’d pick Team 1 to come out ahead in this one — the trio of Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, and Serge Ibaka tilts a lot of talent and institutional knowledge towards one side of the floor.
Some sartorial choices to note, again from Murphy: Terence Davis is playing with a “Davis II” jersey. Apparently everyone in his family calls him “Junior.”
Meanwhile, there is also this:
Fred VanVleet is playing in pants.— Blake Murphy (@BlakeMurphyODC) October 3, 2019
This is just some of the biggest rec league energy from FVV. He’s confident, he’s a champion, and he was undoubtetly the best point guard in the game last night. Fred has earned the right to play a basketball game in pants. What a guy.
Of course, the evening wasn’t entirely without controversy — somehow. It had to do with Lowry’s absence. At first there was some thinking that he was not with the team, perhaps because he was getting checked by doctors to be cleared to play after undergoing much-needed thumb surgery back in July. Then again, perhaps not. As Doug Smith of the Star pointed out: Lowry was indeed in the arena, and just opted not to be announced as such. There are many takes to dish out here, but I’ll give the best (and most correct) one to Eric Koreen at the Athletic:
This was supposed to be the chill, victory lap season, guys! Come on! It’s a preseason scrimmage!
Anyway, back to the game for some lightning round highlights care of reports from Murphy, Josh Lewenberg, William Lou, Alex Wong and the Yahoo Canada team:
- Terence Davis went off for a personal 8-0 run;
- Matt Thomas drained his first shot, a deep 30-footer;
- Fred VanVleet threw this pass (in pants):
Wearing pants and taking on FOUR defenders, no problem. What a pass from Fred. pic.twitter.com/z6kL3Z2eJ7— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) October 3, 2019
- Serge Ibaka pulled off these moves:
serge is oozing championship confidence. look at the dribbling display here. he looked like the best player on the court in the first half. pic.twitter.com/jcgUPTjIeD— Yahoo Sports Canada (@YahooCASports) October 3, 2019
- And OG Anunoby, good lord...
og threw down a monster dunk on serge in the first half of their intra-squad scrimmage. their carpool karaoke sessions might be over after this. pic.twitter.com/EGxmYVt9T9— Yahoo Sports Canada (@YahooCASports) October 3, 2019
The only thing missing is a final score. First, Smith made mention of a lopsided 55-36 score in favour of VanVleet’s team (I think; it certainly sounds like they were taking names). But then Smith tweeted this:
I don't know what happened but one team must have hit a bunch of 12-pointers 'cause it's a 3-point game now— Doug Smith: Raptors (@SmithRaps) October 3, 2019
(Like I care)
The “Like I care” is pure Doug and suggests we should all take a step back and remember this game is less than meaningless.
Nevertheless, as reported by Raptors PR, last night’s contest featuring the Raptors vs. the Raptors garnered a sellout crowd of 3,336 people at Laval. Not a bad showing for a game in which one participant was wearing sweatpants.
Now, off to Japan!