Post-Game Notebook: Nogueira Debuts And Turnover Troubles Against Maccabi Haifa

Jay Satur - Raptors.com Takeaways from the Raptors' 92-85 win over Macabbi Haifa in their next to last preseason game at Air Canada Centre on Wednesday.

Turning Point: Give plenty of credit to Maccabi Haifa, who stormed back in the second half from a 20-point deficit. The visitors opened the fourth on a 16-0 run and went into the final four minutes of play with a five-point lead after Leroy Hickerson converted an alley oop on an assist from Brody Angley. But Greivis Vasquez took charge from there, hitting a free throw after a taunting tech to Hickerson and then a 20-foot jumper before setting up Will Cherry for a triple that put Toronto up by one. Maccabi Haifa would briefly regain a one-point lead before a Lucas Nogueira dunk put the Raptors ahead to stay with 2:20 to go.

Turnover Trouble: The Raptors were coughing it up all over the place in this one, with an astounding 26 total, leading to 33 Maccabi Haifa points. Factor in that the Raptors mustered just 16 assists (they were tied for 20th in the NBA last season at 21.2 per game), and there has to be a little cause for concern heading into the preseason finale Friday in Montreal.‎

Roster Spot Watch: That concern can be tempered somewhat by the fact that tonight's minute distribution was anything but usual. Head coach Dwane Casey has said he intends to go with close to his regular season rotation on Friday against the Knicks, which means that Wednesday's win was likely one last good look at the three candidates for the final available spot on the roster.‎ Each of Jordan Hamilton (5 pts, 6 rebs), Greg Stiemsma (6 pts, 6 rebs, 2 blks) and Will Cherry (3 pts) logged as many minutes as the Raptors' usual starters and while none of them truly had major impact in this one, Casey still saw positives in each performance. "We want to see where they are and if they can perform when the popcorn’s popping. I thought all three of them did something good and it is very difficult to try and showcase what you have. We’re insisting on doing team things and they are trying to do it individually." Expect a decision on that last spot by early next week.

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No Answer From Long Distance: The Raptors certainly did themselves no favours with their shooting from 3-point range on Wednesday. They were just 1-12 from beyond the arc in the first two quarters before "improving" in the second half to finish 3-20 on the night (15 per cent). Don't expect Lowry, Ross and Vasquez to go a combined 1-10 from long range all that often this season

Bebe's First Game: Nogueira made his debut as a Raptor on Wednesday and showed flashes of what he can offer, with good hands around the basket and solid rim protection. "Bebe" finished with eight points, two rebounds and two blocks in 11 minutes of work. There's undoubtedly a ways to go before he's ready to spell Jonas Valanciunas for significant stretches at centre, but Wednesday's performance left his head coach pleased. "Lucas came in and turned some shots and that's what he should do and I was really impressed with the way he came in and played," said Casey.

Oh and for anyone who says that the preseason doesn't matter, read the latest from Holly MacKenzie, who has more on debut that meant a lot to Nogueria and his family watching back home in Brazil.