The Raptors grabbed their first win of the tournament in convincing fashion, beating up on the Knicks throughout their third Summer League game. Toronto looked especially strong in the second quarter, winning the frame 28-to-11, and never looking back on the way to their 85-73 win. Jordan Loyd played the facilitator role for the Raps, while Chris Boucher and Dewan Hernandez handled the scoring. Overall, it was a good night in Vegas.
Coming into the game, though, it looked like the Knicks had the talent advantage, or at least the NBA talent advantage. They featured Canadian R.J. Barrett, the third overall pick in the 2019 draft, Mitchell Robinson, the shot-blocking seven footer picked 36th in the 2018 draft, and Kevin Knox, the ninth pick from the 2018 draft, along with a few others determined to crack their NBA roster.
The Raptors didn’t have such players, with only Loyd, Boucher, Malcolm Miller, and maybe Hernandez expected to break camp come October.
The game was sloppy, no doubt, especially in the first half. Both teams combined for 33 turnovers in the game. People were falling down, passes were bouncing around the court, and substitutions were coming in and out faster than you could get a handle on the game.
But the Raptors will take the victory, along with some encouraging individual performances.
- Malcolm Miller had a tough start to the game but figured it out as the night went along. After going 1-of-10 from deep in his first two games this Summer League, Miller found his stroke a little bit, finishing the game with 19 points on 7-of-14 shooting with two threes. The two threes are nice, but what was more encouraging was Miller driving the ball. He made a noticeable effort to take it to the rim, getting fouled on a determined reverse layup, along with a pump-fake and floater. A role player by nature, the Summer League can be a tough setting for Miller. It was good to see him find ways to impact the game other than shooting.
- Dewan Hernandez looked much better today, with a handful of “woah” plays that got you out of your seat. On one play, he trailed behind R.J. Barrett in transition and swatted his layup attempt right to the New York bench, making it look easy. On another play, he slipped by Mitchell Robinson on a missed Raptors free throw attempt and dunked home the ball. That, along with along some dirty work on the offensive glass and a few more dunks put his athleticism on full display. He finished the game with 16 points, 11 rebounds, and a block, on 5-of-17 shooting from the field. It wasn’t all great, of course. Hernandez was jumpy on defense and misfired badly from the post. Still, an encouraging performance.
Nice show of athleticism by Dewan Hernandez pic.twitter.com/jGnALPimKE— William Lou (@william_lou) July 10, 2019
- Point guard Chris Boucher! Well, more like transition-streaker Chris Boucher, but still cool to see. On more than a few occasions, Boucher sprinted the ball up the court making things happen. He finished with 23 points — a game-high — and seven rebounds, on 7-of-14 shooting. His best play of the night came in the fourth quarter when he walked right into an above the break the three with no one else touching the ball and 15 seconds still left on the shot clock. Clean through the net. Never change, Chris.
- Jordan Loyd had a quieter game tonight (by his standards), but the Raptors didn’t need his scoring much either. He was a team-high +15, finishing with eight points, seven rebounds, and seven assists.
- Canadian R.J. Barrett finished the game 17 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists, doing most of his damage in the fourth quarter. His passing ability stood out all game, flashing an alley-oop dish to Kevin Knox and a nifty one-hander to Ignas Brazdeikis in traffic.
- Also, Mitchell Robinson had seven fouls on the game?? I did not know this was a thing.