The New North (The Raptors’ New Look)
above; Bulls’ Thaddeus Young dribbles the ball against OG Anunoby. image by Ashley Dorcely
TORONTO – New preseason, new GOALS. The Raptors came out in what seemed to be new home white jerseys for their preseason home opener with a line up that you wouldn’t really recognize from last year’s team unless you’re an avid NBA fan. They were able to get off to a quick 7-0 lead with the new “unies” and team facelift. The first basket was a three on the left baseline corner after a series of passes. Back and forth they went in the first quarter without much fanfare by the Raptors’ faithful. At the end of the first quarter though with the zeal of Zach Lavine the Raptors found themselves down 28-21.
With the start of the second quarter you could tell that the new editions to the team had no fall off from the defensive side of the court as they held the Bulls to one basket for nearly four minutes at the beginning of the quarter. It didn’t take long though for the Bulls to figure out their miscues on offense. More output by Lavine and a sparking Lauri Markkanen had the Bulls leading at halftime 53-38.
At about 7:30 left in the third the score was 68-46. You could see an old running of the Bulls coming. As the game went on there were flashes of stardom from the newly acquired prospects. But alas they could not hold off the inevitable scoring punch of the seasoned veterans in the Bulls’ lineup. The final score was 105-91 which doesn’t tell the story of how close the game was not at certain points. Lavine ended up with 26 in less than 25 minutes played. While rookie, Coby White poured in 18 in a nonstarter role. On the Toronto side of the stat. sheet OG Anunoby led the team with 15 points and Matt Thomas added 12 off the bench.
While saying all that I must once again remind readers that this was a preseason game with most of the Toronto starters not playing either for health or because of the amount of minutes logged last season and that which they will play this season. Not to mention the Raptors are just returning to North America after playing two games against the Houston Rockets in Japan where they recorded one win and one loss. Coach Nurse made a point of reminding us all what he’s looking for with these “exhibition” games. “I’m not again overly concerned. I think you guys can, you know, see that there’s probably eight guys for sure and we’re just looking for a couple more.”
A couple more role players that would be able to fill in the holes on offense and defense is what the preseason games are good for. Which is the primary message Coach Nurse seemed to be communicating about this loss. There’s a lot of new pieces in The North. But there are enough old ones to recognize the World Champion Raptors!!!
(Ed. Note: This report was written on the Pre-Season game Oct. 13th.)
Ashley Dorcely is the Official Raptors Reporter for Challenger Community News