Raptors Cage

Raptors vs Rockets: Basketball’s back, Baby

The Raptors have officially finished their first scrimmage of the season, coming against the small-ball Houston Rockets. The game ended in the Toronto Raptors favor with a score of 83 – 94. The result doesn’t matter: these scrimmages are effectively most teams’ preseason before the official restart, but it was nice to see some sort of Raptors basketball. There were a few memorable moments from the scrimmage, but all in all it is gonna be another forgettable game in the long run, akin to the Summer League. Nick Nurse reached deep into the bench, giving guys like Malcolm Miller and Stanley Johnson minutes, and all in all the feel of the game was fairly run of the mill, with both teams more interested to see where they stand in the long run.

A Classic Ibaka Game

One positive I saw from the scrimmage was the performance of Serge Ibaka. Serge Ibaka had himself a night, leading the Raptors in scoring with 18 points, along with 3 rebounds and 2 assists. He also shot a ridiculous percentage from the field, shooting 8 of 10 from the field, along with 2 of 3 from beyond the ark. When the season shut down, Serge was having the most productive offensive season of his career, averaging 16 points on the season, a career high. On top of that, he shot a good 39.8% on 3 attempts from three also the best of his career. Serge Ibaka may not break anyone down like Steph Curry, but when he’s open off the catch, there’s a good chance of him making it. As I’ve said before, if Serge Ibaka gets hot, he doesn’t miss. The Raptors will need a classic “Ibaka game” in the playoffs, and while this game doesn’t have any implication for the postseason, it was a good reminder of his well rounded offensive game.

A particular highlight that impressed me came from Lowry. It reminded me of who he is, a guy who makes the right plays and somehow makes “yeet Threes”. Watch this highlight and you’ll understand what I mean.

It’s not the only ridiculous 3 he has made. I remember the half court heave against Miami in the playoffs a few years ago. Of course there was also this gem earlier in the season down below. Regardless of how ridiculous, Kyle Lowry finds a way to make the right play in any given situation. Even late in the clock, with the time winding down. Lowry and 3 heaves go hand in hand, and sometimes they create amazing highlights.

Regardless, it was nice to see Kyle Lowry back in action, along with the rest of the team. Raptors basketball is back. It’s different, under different conditions in a historic season. The Raptors are making the most of the bubble, and it was good to start off with a win, no matter how insignificant the game.

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