Back At It


Raptors Fend Off Houston Rockets in First Scrimmage Game in Bubble

After four long months, the NBA’s reigning champions returned to the court.

On Friday, the Toronto Raptors took on the Houston Rockets in the first of three scrimmage games prior to the resumption of the 2019-20 season.

Although at times, the rust was evident, the Raptors trademark defense hasn’t withered over the hiatus nor has Serge Ibaka’s scorching hot walk year. The big man led the champs with 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting en route to a 94-83 victory in bubble action. Rookie Terence Davis, eager to earn more playing time as the postseason nears, had a phenomenal showing as well, finishing with 15 points in the win.

“Man, it felt really good man,” said Davis, who had 15 points on the night. “It was great to get up and down. I know the guys felt the same way. It just felt really good to continue doing what you love to do. Tonight we had a chance to do that and it wouldn’t be possible without the great help of the organization and the NBA coming together.

“It’s an unbelievable job they have done so shout out to the NBA.”

As usually is the case for the Raptors, the offense came from just about everywhere. All-Stars Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry scored 13 and 11 points apiece, while Norman Powell poured in 12 points of his own.

“A step or two slow here or there mixed in with some really good play,” said head coach Nick Nurse. “I thought there was some good energy at times, great ball movement, etc. Had some good battling, I don’t think the intensity of the game was super high but it was really good to get out there and see where we were.”

Oh, and of course, Lowry took a charge – the NBA is officially back.

“He’s a guy, no matter the circumstance, he kind of knows only one way to play,” Nurse said of his star point guard. “There’s no fans here, he’s gonna play. In typical Kyle kind of fashion, he was only going to play the first half tonight, but he gets to halftime and wants to play some more and again, just had to rein him in a little bit.

“He gets his motor going he loves to play, he loves to play and I don’t really worry about his demeanour.”

Meanwhile, James Harden led the way for the Rockets with a game-high 24 points and his co-star Russell Westbrook finished with 10 points in the loss. The duo both tested positive for the coronavirus so seeing them both on the court was most definitely a welcoming sign for the Rockets.

The Raptors are set to take on the Portland Trailblazers in their second scrimmage game.


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