Day 6: Raptors Split Up For Intra-Squad Game

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Day 6: Raptors Split Up For Intra-Squad Game

Jay Satur -
October 3, 2010

Warning: Much of the following assessment from Sunday's training camp intra-squad game at UBC must be taken with an enormous grain of salt. You just can't glean much or project anything significant from a scrimmage amongst teammates. Execution was anything but crisp at UBC on Sunday and with eight-minute quarters the feel of a live NBA contest just wasn't there.

That being said, it was a spirited, high-energy affair at UBC's War Memorial Gymnasium on Sunday afternoon, with a loud crowd on hand showing plenty of love for the Raptors.

There were some nuggets worthy of mention:

- Teams were as follows: Team White - Jack, Bargnani, Dupree, Johnson, Weems, Banks, Alabi. Team Black - Calderon, DeRozan, Kleiza, Andersen, Evans, Banks, Dorsey, Wright.

- Starters were Jack, Bargnani, Dupree, Johnson, Weems for Black. Calderon, DeRozan, Kleiza, Andersen, Evans for White. A couple of switches at halftime, which isn't uncommon.

- Linas Kleiza scored a team-high 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the floor and was Sunday's most consistent player on the floor. Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo mentioned that he was nursing a nagging Achilles injury yesterday (Kleiza spoke with media following the game with an ice bag taped to his ankle), but it had no bearing on his play as he was very efficient and took nearly every open look the defence gave him. "You always have something going on," he said after the scrimmage. "But it's not a major issue."

- Speaking of minor injuries, Leandro Barbosa sat out of Sunday's contest with a sore left ankle. It's not considered serious and he's day-to-day.

- Leading rebounders were Joey Dorsey and Sonny Weems with seven apiece, although the big man racked that total up in 15 minutes versus a game-high 30 for Weems.

- Highlight play the day? Jose Calderon dribbling right near the top of the key, spotting DeMar DeRozan cutting baseline and dishing an underhanded scoop lob that was promptly smashed with two-hands. Sort of reminiscent of our RaptorSpace Play Of The Year from last season.

- The fitness level of the team was something we heard very positive remarks about from the coaching staff and Colangelo and we received some proof Sunday. Very fast pace non-stop and -- I still need to follow up on this -- a few players, Reggie Evans in particular, look lighter.

- The one thing I saw plenty of fans asking about in our chat was improvements on defence. It's near impossible to decipher in an intra-squad game, but I did see ball handlers getting picked up near midcourt, guys fighting hard through screens and defenders gambling on playing passing lanes. Stats did show Black with five steals on five White turnovers and White with an equal amount of steals on six Black turnovers.

Again though, it must be cautioned -- intra-squad game. There's everything to suggest that Team Black (32.4% shooting for the game) had a bad offensive game as opposed to Team White having a good one defensively.

- Both DeMar DeRozan and Sonny Weems have been working pretty diligently on their ball handling since last season (an admitted area of improvement from both) and there were some positive signs on that front. Weems had one memorable sequence in the first half where he crossed over DeRozan to create some separation and pulled-up for a silky smooth mid-range jumper. DeRozan also had Andrea Bargnani teetering in another direction with a little step-back dribble early on.

Small sample size in less than optimal conditions, but in speaking with Raptors assistant coach Eric Hughes post-game, he believes they're coming along.

“They definitely got better with the strength of their ball handling,” said Hughes, who's put in a lot of hours with both players since last season. “It definitely was a point of emphasis this summer, but still not where it needs to be. We're still working on it every day."

Want a more scientific gauge on their progress?

"They've gone from about a four to a six. But at least it's a six," said Hughes. "It's still not where it needs to be. They know that."


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