GETTING THINGS UNDERWAY IN VEGAS
The Toronto Raptors kicked off their 2017 NBA Summer League campaign in Las Vegas with a 96-93 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans. While the team got big contributions from a variety of players, Fred VanVleet’s three-point play with 4.5 seconds remaining sealed the victory for Toronto.
BACK IN TORONTO
While Toronto’s Summer League team got started in Las Vegas, back in Toronto, Masai Ujiri was announcing the re-signings of Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka. Lowry and Ibaka both spoke with the media about their decisions to return to Toronto and continuing to build on the success the Raptors have had in recent seasons.
While head coach Dwane Casey and the rest of the coaching staff were watching the Raptors/Pelicans game action in the stands, DeMar DeRozan and Norman Powell were both checking out the game courtside. DeRozan has become a staple at Summer League over the years, often working out in Vegas and spending time with his teammates despite his years of participating being long gone.
Casey joined the NBATV crew to talk about the importance of NBA Summer League for player development, the return of Lowry and Ibaka, and pushing the pace this season:
DeRozan spoke about the return of Lowry, changes to the roster, and league-wide happenings with NBATV Canada’s Akil Augustine courtside:
Malcolm Miller was ruled out for the remainder of NBA Summer League after sustaining a right ankle sprain. Jakob Poeltl received three stitches above his eye after taking a hit in Friday’s game but was in good spirits after the win.
MEEKS DEBUTING STRONG
UNC’s Kennedy Meeks had an impressive debut for the Raptors in Vegas, scoring 15 points and grabbing nine rebounds in just 17 minutes of action. Meeks shot 7-of-13 from the floor and made his only free throw attempt.
SOPHS LOOKING GOOD
The sophomore trio of Pascal Siakam, Jakob Poeltl and Fred VanVleet had a great showing in the victory. Siakam led all scorers with 24 points in 30 minutes of action, making 10-of-14 field goals. He was 1-of-2 from beyond the arc and 3-of-3 from the free throw line while adding two rebounds, two assists and a blocked shot. Poeltl played 22 minutes, posting a 12-point, 10-rebound double-double. VanVleet played 30 minutes, scoring 18 points to go with nine assists, three rebounds and two steals. He shot 7-of-15 from the floor, 2-of-5 from three and 2-of-2 from the line.
THEY SAID IT:
“It’s a Raptors coaching tradition. You’ve got to lose your voice on the first day.”
– Jama Mahlalela, following Toronto’s Game 1 win
“It’s leadership first and foremost. Fred and his leadership as a point guard, leading our team this year. Pascal being a leader on the court and finding ways for him to do that. You saw that today. Commanding the ball and doing something with it. That’s a real growth for him as a mature basketball player. Jakob, I think really needs to find his own more, find his voice more, because his skills are there. As he increases his voice, he’ll become more of a factor in terms of leading our team.”
– Jama Mahlalela on what the coaching staff is looking for from Toronto’s sophomore trio
“Today is my dad’s birthday. It’s the same day I signed my first contract. For people that know me it’s really a big thing for him, the fact that I was able to make this dream become a reality, make my family’s dream become a reality. It was a little emotional day for me today, but I just had to think about it during the game and before, and just going to have him in my heart the whole day as I always do. It’s a special day and it means a lot to me.”
– Pascal Siakam on the one-year anniversary of signing his first NBA contract falling on his late father’s birthday
“It’s my job to make their jobs easier. That’s just a natural talent that I have and I just try to impose that throughout the game. Obviously me, Jakob and Pascal have a great rhythm together, but it’s about getting the other guys in that rhythm and it’l take a little bit of time. I think you saw early on with the turnovers that we had, a little bit of off-rhythm stuff, but we’ll get through that quickly and try to develop a good offensive rhythm and defensive rhythm.”
– Fred VanVleet on the chemistry he has with fellow sophomores Pascal Siakam and Jakob Poeltl, as well as his role as a point guard on the floor
“I definitely think I did a better job as the game went on. Just feeling out everybody, the opposing team, everything that comes with it, the coaching staff, just getting all the way in it. I think I still need to improve on getting ready early, starting off and being aggressive early on. I know I missed a couple shots that I normally make and you can’t really think about them at that moment. You’ve got to move past it to the next play and I think I did a good job of doing that.”
– Kennedy Meeks on his first NBA Summer League game
Up next: The Raptors look to add another win on Saturday when they take on the Minnesota Timberwolves at 6:30 P.M. ET.