Game Preview: Raptors vs Nets
Toronto Raptors (2-1) @ Brooklyn Nets (1-1)
When: Wednesday, October 10, 7 P.M. ET
Where: Bell Centre, Montreal
Leading into tonight:
NBA Canada Series: The Raptors are in Montreal to take on the Brooklyn Nets in their second NBA Canada series game this preseason. This will be the fifth preseason game the Raptors have played in Montreal, with Toronto owning a perfect 4-0 record at the Bell Centre.
Homecoming: This will be a home game for Raptors forward Chris Boucher, who moved to Montreal from Castries, Saint Lucia, when he was five years old. Boucher was signed by Toronto after he impressed during his time with the Raptors Summer League squad in Las Vegas. “It’s been awhile since I’ve been home, so coming back as an NBA player definitely feels good,” Boucher said. “It’s truly a blessing to play in front of my family and friends.”
Three down: The Raptors enter Wednesday’s game with a 2-1 record in the preseason thus far. After defeating the Portland Trail Blazers in Vancouver, the wheels fell off in the second half against the Utah Jazz on the road, but the Raptors rebounded with a solid 120-82 victory at Scotiabank Arena against Melbourne United. Head coach Nick Nurse has used the preseason to experiment with lineup combinations, and though he will likely continue trying different things, it sounds as though he will be tweaking minutes and lineups to resemble a regular-season game in Montreal. “Wednesday is a good game for us to get a little closer to rotation-type action,” Nurse said. “I don’t think we’re gonna be pushing anybody into the 35-minute range or even 32 [minutes]. But we’ll probably push these guys up to 18, 19 to 27, 28 [minutes], the key guys, and try to keep the rotation going as much as possible as what it will [probably] look like the week following.”
Norm’s the word: Norman Powell led Toronto in its victory against Melbourne United on Friday at Scotiabank Arena. Powell scored a team-high 21 points in 25 minutes before leaving the game with a right thigh contusion. He shot 8-for-11 from the floor, 3-for-5 from beyond the arc and 2-for-2 at the free throw line while adding three rebounds and three assists. Powell looked great and scored from all over the floor, including three-pointers, jumpers, drives to the basket and a few thunderous dunks as well. “I’m just focused on the nuances of the game, learning the offence, learning where I can find my spots,” Powell said after Toronto’s open scrimmage at Ryerson University on Sunday. ‘I’m just talking to Nick [Nurse], focusing in on my role and looking at what he wants me to do. Just being with the guys and incorporating myself into the group and seeing what I can do.” Powell did not participate in Toronto’s practice on Tuesday.
Siakam scores: Though Norman Powell led the Raptors in scoring, Pascal Siakam wasn’t far behind, adding 19 points of his own against Melbourne United. Siakam shot 6-for-10 from the floor, 1-for-2 from three and 6-for-7 from the free throw line. He added six rebounds, three assists, and a steal to round out his performance. In a game where Kawhi Leonard, Kyle Lowry, C.J. Miles, OG Anunoby and Chris Boucher were all not in uniform, Toronto’s young guys stepped up. Perhaps most impressive for Siakam: the Raptors were a +50 when he was on the floor.
Back-to-back: In an interesting preseason scheduling wrinkle, the Raptors will play the New Orleans Pelicans, in New Orleans on Thursday. This means Toronto will fly out immediately after Wednesday’s game at the Bell Centre for a preseason back-to-back. Thursday’s game will be their preseason finale, allowing the team to return to Toronto to prepare for the regular season opener against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wed, Oct. 17.