LOSING A TOUGH ONE
Despite owning the top seed in the NBA Summer League tournament, the Raptors fell to the 16th-seeded Portland Trail Blazers, 91-85 on Thursday night. Fred VanVleet led all scorers in the loss scoring 31 points, but his 10-point fourth quarter effort wasn’t enough to help Toronto come back from a 10-point deficit to get the win. After getting off to a slow start, the teams were tied at the half, and the Raptors held a one-point advantage heading in the the fourth. Things fell apart defensively for Toronto in the final frame as the Blazers shot 53 percent from the floor and outscored the Raptors 24-17 to earn the upset victory.
VANVLEET GIVING HIS ALL
Though his team lost, Fred VanVleet continued to show off his offensive game, scoring a game-high 31 points on Thursday. VanVleet played 30 minutes, shooting 10-of-17 from the floor, 2-of-4 from beyond the arc and a percent 8-for-8 from the free throw line. He added six rebounds, three assists, two steals and a blocked shot. Through four games, VanVleet has been spectacular for the Raptors.
FOUL TROUBLE AND STRUGGLES FROM DEEP
Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam both dealt with foul trouble in the loss. Siakam eventually fouled out with 11.8 seconds remaining, while VanVleet finished the game with five fouls. Heading into the final quarter, Siakam had four fouls (in 17 minutes) while VanVleet had three. Another area the team struggled on Thursday was from beyond the arc. The Raptors shot just 20 percent from deep, making just 7-of-35 attempts from three, while the Blazers made eight of 17 attempts.
RAPS TO BE WELL-REPRESENTED IN 2ND NBA GAME IN AFRICA
On Thursday the NBA and NBPA announced full rosters for the NBA Africa game that will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa on August 5. This will be the league’s second NBA game in Africa. It will take place following the 15th edition of Basketball without Borders Africa, featuring a Team Africa vs. Team World format.
The Toronto Raptors will be well represented in the game with Serge Ibaka playing for Team Africa and Kyle Lowry playing for Team World. Raptors assistant coach Patrick Mutombo and Raptors president Masai Ujiri will also be participating.
GOA IN VEGAS
Raptors president Masai Ujiri took some time away from the gym on Tuesday evening for a private screening of his Giants of Africa documentary. The screening was held at the Strip View Pavilion at the Thomas and Mack Centre. Following the screening, Ujiri and Hubert Davis, the director of the film, held a Q&A with the audience.
Randy Urban provided a recap of the evening here:
THEY SAID IT
“We never really played with a grit that we’ve displayed in other games. We kind of not were in sync in what we were going. Guys were playing hard, but you work hard for three or four passes, then all of a sudden they get open right under the basket. Some of it also was mental focus, a little bit.”
– Patrick Mutombo on his team’s first loss in NBA Summer League
“I’ve felt good every game. I told these guys before, I’m not particularly worried about the stats. Obviously I want to have a good showing, but its the way I’m playing, making the right reads and right plays. I was a little bit more aggressive scoring tonight, just the way the game was going, but I still feel like I had a couple of nice plays where I was passing and dishing, just setting up the offence. Could have been better defensively, obviously, that’s too many fouls for me to put my team in that position. Overall it felt good, but it doesn’t matter how good you play. When you lose it doesn’t feel good.”
– Fred VanVleet on a solid showing in NBA Summer League despite a frustrating tournament loss
“It’s been a big learning experience for me. I’ve been trying to be a sponge and learn from all of these players and coaches that have been here before. I was glad to be able to showcase a few more things that I could do tonight. At first I wanted to come in, get acclimated to everybody and see how goes. I was excited to be able to show what I could do.”
– Jordan Loyd on his experience in Vegas
“Like I always say, this kid works. He works. He has grit, good mentality. He has a quiet force about him. He gets the paint and tries to finish. He’s not very tall so he’s got to be skilled in there. He puts in a lot of work.”
– Patrick Mutombo on Fred VanVleet’s ability to finish at the rim
Up next: The Raptors will close out their 2017 NBA Summer League journey when they take on the Cleveland Cavaliers at 10:30 P.M. ET on Friday.